Recently in the online world there has been a hell of a lot of talk of breastfeeding. The usual “breast is best” type messages and one particularly nasty blog about how the writer automatically judges those who bottle feed “by choice”. I’m not going to link to said piece because it doesn’t deserve the traffic quite frankly, but it was along the lines of “if you bottle feed, I am judging you.” It goes down the lines that any mother who didn’t try to breastfeed has failed as a mother, that every child deserves colostrum, that lactating is what we are made for.
There is of course a long list of “reasons why I won’t judge you”, but what I fail to see is how this author knows who fits into those categories. Does she ask everyone who she sees bottle feeding? Or does she just judge away from up on her high horse?
Here’s the thing. Eden has been bottle fed since day one. Her first meal in this world was given to her by her mama, while she was just an hour old and while mummy was being stitched up. Did I try to breastfeed? No, I didn’t. Do I care that anyone is judging? No, I don’t. Amy and I made the best decision for our daughter based on our circumstances. Not that reasons why matter, but we chose not to breastfeed for several reasons. One of the main ones being that as a sexual assault survivor, it has taken me a long time to be anything like comfortable with my body. With the remnants of PTSD, I know breastfeeding would set me back miles. I suffer dreadfully with anxiety, which is made worse when I don’t sleep. Being Eden’s sole food supply would have made me crazy. I admire women that can deal with that pressure – it’s not easy and pumping carries the same pressure to me because of having to establish supply. As a lesbian couple, we wanted to have equal responsibility for our baby. I know many lesbian couples choose for either the birth mum to nurse or to induce lactation in the non birth mother – great choices. But it wasn’t for us. Plus, as above, bottle feeding meant that Amy could take some of the night feeds and help me keep my brain in check.
However, these things aren’t my point. My point is, who cares? Honestly. Who cares how other people choose to feed their children? Who cares what their reasons are? Why does it make a difference to your life how the lady on the next table in Starbucks is feeding? Unless their three week old is being fed a cappuccino, what difference does it really make? I’m all for people making informed choices for their family and those are their decisions to make and no one else’s. That goes for how to feed, sleep arrangements, weaning, circumcision and whatever other “issue of the day” you want to throw in.
I was sitting in a cafe the other day with Eden waiting for a friend and it came around time for a feed. So, I popped out a bottle and some formula powder and made up Eden’s bottle. This had never actually happened to me before, but a lady opposite started tutting and was clearly talking to her companion about the fact that I was bottle feeding about how “disgusting” it was. I chose to ignore her (except for a small twitter rant) and she was lucky that I am the kind of person who, like I said above, does not care about the opinions of people I have never met and am never likely to come across again. But I did think about several scenarios.
Imagine this happened to a lady who had tried so so hard to breastfeed and had to stop because their body just couldn’t keep up? Or because their baby was tongue tied? Or because they just didn’t have any milk? Imagine that “tut” and rant was directed at a lady who had already been made to feel like crap for not being able to breastfeed and was having a bad day? Imagine it was directed at a lady who had had a double mastectomy? Imagine it was directed at a lady whose baby had been in NICU for the first few weeks of their life? A lot of people say it’s “fair” to judge those who chose not to breastfeed, but really did this lady know my situation? How does one identify those who “choose” to formula feed?
I have a friend who tried to breastfeed when her daughter was born and just couldn’t. She jokes now that she didn’t even have enough milk to nourish a squirrel, but at the time she went through hell. Her daughter lost weight and the doctors pushed and pushed for her to carry on breastfeeding even though it was clearly not working out. Nights spent in hospital with a screaming infant and a mum who felt absolutely awful and riddled with guilt. A mum who, for the first few months of her daughter’s life, cried every time she had to buy formula. Why? Because she had been made to feel like a failure because her body couldn’t do what it is “made” to do. Imagine that “tut” and rant would have been directed at her. And where is the common sense point where a medical professional should have said “look. It’s ok. Here’s how we can help.” rather than pushing and pushing and pushing for breast milk that she didn’t have?
As I discussed in my recent post about our admission with jaundice, even as someone who is confident in their decision not to breastfeed, I was left in tears more than once by the disdain of people around me whilst in hospital with a sick baby. I can’t imagine how that would have felt had I actually wanted to breastfeed and been unable to. At the end of the day all I need to do is look at our daughter to know that we are doing the right thing – I have a wonderful, bubbly, smart eight week old who is hitting all her milestones ahead of schedule. That’s because of the whole package. Love, attention, a roof over her head, clothes on her back and food in her belly. The type of food hasn’t made a difference thus far.
Line up some kids at school. Maybe thirty or forty ten year olds. Then tell me who was breast fed and who was formula fed. You can’t? Didn’t think so. I was mostly formula fed and I got some of the top marks in my school year at GCSE. I’m sure some of those at my level were breast fed, but did it matter to us? Did it even come up? Nope.
Isn’t it time that everyone supported one another? We all know that in ideal circumstances, breast is best. Breastmilk is made for your baby. That’s the point of it. HOWEVER, can we not look at the bigger picture? Breast is not best for everyone and in every situation. Sometimes breastfeeding would actually harm the relationship of the mother and child and would probably contribute to postnatal depression – I know it would have for me. Parents need to be there for one another. We need to stop judging and start supporting. Stop picking what is wrong with people. Stop imposing our parenting ideals on other people. Stop giving unsolicited advice or telling people they are wrong. Start respecting the choices that parents make for their children – obviously as long as no one is being harmed. A lady told me the other day that she had been told that formula feeding increases the risk of SIDS by up to 80% and “if she wants to kill her child, that’s her problem”. Not only is that statistic not true, but it’s also totally unfair. No mother wants to do anything that would contribute to the death of their child. Whilst it is thought that breastfeeding does help protect against SIDS, no one really knows why SIDS occurs and what we can do to prevent it, otherwise it wouldn’t happen at all. Formula isn’t poison. No, it doesn’t have the same level of nutrients or antibodies as breast milk, but it doesn’t harm children. It’s a pretty damn good substitute. And in a lot of cases, it saves lives.
At the end of the day, no matter how you choose to feed your child, fed is best. Let’s aim the hate at those few who choose to not feed their child. That’s neglect. Not a bottle. Not formula. Not breast milk. We’re all doing a great job with something that is very difficult – let’s build each other up rather than tearing one another down. Be proud of your choices, because only you can make the right choices for your family.
We’re all doing a great job.
Great post and those who judge are ass hats.
I’m sorry your dealing with feeling judged. I was also body fed, as well as my sister, and we are both successful members of society and moderately intelligent! I am going to try to breastfeed but if I can’t, I can’t. A fed baby is best, regardless of how they are fed!
Preach it, sister!!
In more seriousness: This. This this this this this. It just galls the fuck out of me anytime anyone judges someone bottle feeding, because what the heck do they know?? There are so, so many situations and only that family can know what’s right for them. Plus, formula has come leaps and bounds towards mimicking breastmilk since the 70’s-80’s, and I, too, know quite a few adults who were formula-fed as wee ones and there is no difference. All the shaming just makes me so angry.
We plan on breastfeeding right now, but I have a huge tendency towards depression and if breastfeeding begins to damage my mental health, I am dropping it like a hot rock. A happy, stable, healthy mom is way more important than breastmilk.
Just wanted to comment on your plan and say yay! yes! good luck! And even though you’ll read a lot of scare-mongering about the awfulness of introducing any formula, giving a few bottles to get you through a rough stretch or doing combo-feeding long-term are totally viable options.
I’m glad to see you say this. My failed breastfeeding attempt plunged me straight back into depression. I would never wish that experience on anyone else.
I’m so sorry! I can only imagine how hard that must have been. That’s exactly why I hate the shaming around this topic so much! ❤
I couldn’t agree more with your post. It’s amazing how many people feel the need to not only tell you how to raise your child, but shame you because of the choice you made. I couldn’t tell you how many times I have had negative comments on bottle feeding Luke. When feeling particularly feisty I have been known to thank them for pointing out my flaws and let them know how damaging their comments really and truly are.
You keep doing you. I am glad that you guys are getting on so well!
I’d really recommend the book “Lactivism” to you – it’s absolutely fantastic, a look at aggregated studies and how breastfeeding has been elevated despite strong scientific evidence. But more importantly the book deals with how society shames women who do not breastfeed and how detrimental this has become. I had a woman judge me and my SIL for bottle feeding while proudly exclaiming that she is an anti-vaxxer. I mean, really now…
That’s really interesting. I’ll have a look for it 🙂
Great post! I totally agree with you 🙂
I’m just shocked by all the judgement. I never really gave it a second thought how many people bottle feed vs breastfeed. People will apparently judge everything everyone else does. That woman tutting at you for bottle feeding, would she have also tutted for whipping a breast out? If she hadn’t someone else probably would have. There will always be something, it’s a sad fact of life these days. You don’t need to be told it I’m sure but you are doing a great job, you’re both doing what suits YOUR FAMILY. Dont give a rats tushy what anyone else has to say. Tut right back about their choice of food – “a muffin? Seriously?” 😂
AMEN! Loved this post!
I completely agree with this! For me & my children, I’ve always wanted to breastfeed but it has never been politically motivated – it’s just how I always imagined I’d feed them. I had no idea how challenging it would be to establish, how stressful and depressing it can be on many levels, and how much people make SUCH a huge deal out of it. My sister choose to formula feed her (now teen) girls, who are both extremely healthy, intelligent, and athletic I feel awkward each time someone, even complete strangers (taxi drivers, fellow bus/metro passengers, store clerks… Etc) ask me whether I’m breastfeeding or not. What the fuck gives anyone the right to pry into such things?! I feel awkward feeding my baby in public because of the weird looks some observers give. Feeding our babies is a total lose lose situation with regards to others’ opinions. Screw them all!
*sent too soon – with regards to my sister, she formula fed but I have no clue what her motivation was, nor does she know whether I had any motivation to choose breast, because it’s just a non issue in my family. It SHOULD be like that everywhere.
Amen, sister!! I am ALREADY getting people telling me I “have to breastfeed” because “breast is best”. I am 11 weeks pregnant!! Geez people, get a hobby besides trying to micromanage and judge others’ lives. You shouldn’t have to justify how you feed your baby, because it is obvious that your baby’s wellbeing is your top priority. Like you said… Unless you are feeding it a cappuccino, bugger off! 😉
For someone who says they don’t care, you sure spent a lot of your ranty blog justifying your decision. That article was not aimed at any of the example mothers you use to bolster your argument, it’s aimed at people who don’t even try, I highly doubt she is judging mothers in cafes when she doesn’t know their situation. How do you know it would have given you pnd? Have you even read the studies about it reducing risks of pnd? Did you not think maybe it would actually help to reclaim your body after your sexual assault? With the state of our nhs, is it any wonder you were denied free formula when you refused your child the best nourishment there is?
Hi Helen, Thankyou for reading, commenting and proving my point entirely. I’m sure you’re making the right decisions for your family as much as I am for mine. You’re doing a great job. Laura
Wow, Helen, judge much? You’re exactly the kind of person this post is about. (By the way, it’s a private blog, she can rant about whatever she wants.)
Have *you* ever read the studies about the link between PND and breastfeeding? There’s nothing to show that breastfeeding causes less PND; in fact, women who try breastfeeding and fail have the highest rates of PND. Probably succeeding vs. not succeeding at the goal is the difference. Or maybe it’s that it’s darn hard to breastfeed when you’re depressed. There’s no evidence at all that it’s the oxytocin.
It is my choice to be vegetarian. Does that mean if I’m admitted to a hospital I have to ‘eat what’s going, or get my own food’? No. My choice gets respect, and Laura’s should too! That isn’t called entitlement, that is called “feeding a newborn”.
Amen to someone talking sense here!
It sure as hell gave me PND.
Wow, what a bitch. Thanks for proving that lactivist are some of the most horrible people on earth, Helen. I didn’t breastfed either and my kids thrived on formula. Both are very intelligent, top of their class, and are very healthy. I don’t regret it one bit. Lactivist like you can shove it.
I generally dislike the term “lactivist” because I often feel it’s bandied around too often, but this is a situation where it is perfectly apt. Someone who discards personal choice and puts breastfeeding on a pedestal a over maternal mental health, body autonomy and personal choice – that’s a lactivist.
It’s unfortunate that we can’t all respect one another.
Thanks for reading, Vanessa. You’re doing a great job as I’m happy your kids thrived on formula 🙂
I’m not a lactivist, I know it doesn’t work out for some people and in those cases I support bottle feeding. What I hate is when people don’t even try, and more so when they go to great lengths to justify their decision when they have claimed to not care what people think. You bang on about your rights as a woman, what about your baby’s right to the best start in life? Considering all you went through to bring her into this world I’m shocked that you refused to even try. I’m sorry about your sexual assault and resulting ptsd, but why not reclaim your breasts as the mammary glands they are and not the sexual objects that society seems to think they are.
If only it was that easy.
I just don’t understand comments like this. You do what’s right for your family, and let other women do what’s right for theirs. Why do you care? When this intelligent, honest blog shows how thoughtful these parents are, as well as caring so much about their daughter. To imply by statements like this that not breastfeeding their child, they are not doing the best for her, is just nonsensical. To drill down to this one issue and have the ‘test’ of being a good mother as breastfeeding – it’s incredibly naive as well as ugly. I’m afraid you are a lactivist – an extremist. I feel quite sorry for you. Because when your children are older, no one is going to give a monkeys how they were fed. Or will you latch on (forgive the pun) to something else to be superior and competitive about?
What does it matter to you whether someone tries or not? Its not your place to be “shocked” that she didn’t try, because its absolutely none of your business.
I completely agree with you. I was mostly formula fed and have a very strong immune system, did well in school and don’t have any of the other issues they talk about. We haven’t had our baby yet and although I hope to breastfeed if I can, if we end up formula feeding I know our baby will be just fine. Your baby is looking so happy and healthy, well done Mamas! xx
The first ten days ofy baby Oliver’s life were some of the hardest (and best.. parenthood is weirs) days of my life, and a lot of the hardest and worst was because of breastfeeding – I didn’t have enough milk at first, I compensated by feeding him every hour, and as a result had NO sleep. It was EFFING HARD. And Im one where it did work out in the end for me, but NOBODY, should tell any single one of us to ‘just breastfeed’ because I would not judge a single woman in the world who decides not to do what I did, at ANY point, including before starting in the first place. I am not an example of what someone ‘should’ do, I’m an example of a woman making a CHOICE. I HATE that our society makes mothers of healthy happy babies feel like failures. THAT is what is disgusting!
My beautiful, smart, amazing mother was formula fed (back when formula wasn’t as good as it is now). Why? It doesn’t MATTER why, but as it happens it is because my red-grades Grandmother’s skin was so fragile it tore and cracked and broke and bled when she tried. Luckily, that was back when formula was kind of thought to be better than breastfeeding, so she didn’t get too much flack, I don’t think. But now? She would be told she didn’t try hard enough, be told to ‘keep it going’ despite pain and blood and a PERFECTLY REASONABLE OTHER OPTION.
That isn’t okay. Our babies diets don’t come before our own health and happiness and rights as a human being. I am a mother, but I am a person first and foremost. People seem to forget that a lot. I don’t think it is possible to believe in human rights or equality, and be someone who tells women what to do with their bodies. Because we are all just doing our best, and what we think is right.
HUGE rant, I know! Tldr: I support you! FED IS BEST!
Please forgive the typos – I should have spell checked my rant! My Grandma was red-HEADED, btw 😀
*standing ovation* Thanks Kallie x
I judge people who don’t even give breast feeding a go – it’s the most natural thing in the world! If mums can’t feed for any reason then of course bottle feeding is necessary but I don’t understand why anyone would choose not to nourish their baby with the most healthy milk available and choose artificially modified milk from another animal species, it’s baffling! Also breast feeding is so easy why would you choose all the hassle of washing/sterilising bottles and forgo the wonderful bond breastfeeding creates?
For someone who says they don’t care that they’re being judged you do spend a lot of time getting cross at those who breast feed for talking about it and celebrating it, and justifying your choice. Why wouldn’t people expect you to breast feed, it’s what we are designed to do. You wouldn’t expect someone to have a Caesarian in general and of course it doesn’t mean they’ve failed but natural vagina births are the norm and what we are designed to do so most people expect people to have a normal birth as that’s what women’s bodies are designed for.
I’m glad breastfeeding worked out for you and was easy. Well done for making the best decision for you and for your family.
Everyone’s story is different.
You’re doing a great job
Actually it was the hardest thing I’ve done but the hard work was worth it to give my baby the best start in life
You said yourself “breastfeeding is easy”. I was merely quoting you.
Sorry I should have been clearer – breast feeding is logistically easier in terms on no preparation, sterilising or equipment to cart around
You said it yourself, “If mums can’t feed for any reason then of course bottle feeding is necessary “. She gave you her reason. Every parent makes decisions using reasons. No one flips a coin! Who are you to decide her reason isn’t ‘legitimate’?
Unless you mean every person MUST breastfeed when physically milk can come out of their body. Which means you don’t think people should have the ability to make choices about their own bodies. Or maybe you do – just not mothers? When did our rights as people to protect our own wellbeing get dismissed completely? Sure, if it was to the detriment of her child – her happy, healthy, thriving child!? Don’t think so.
Natural does not mean “better”. If I did reproduction the natural way, I’d be dead. Just saying.
But how can artificially modified cows milk be better than human milk? It isn’t – it’s a viable alternative but most women actually can breastfeed – they just choose not to or decide it’s too hard
Fun fact: some women’s bodies *aren’t* designed for giving birth and/or breastfeeding—that’s one of the reasons infant and maternal mortality rates used to be so high 100+ years ago (and still are in some places).
Why would you *care* what any mother’s reasons are or aren’t?
No we are all designed that way just some of us have medical complications but you wouldn’t know this unless you’ve actually tried to breastfeed or have a medical problem I.e mastectomy that means you can’t
I understand it doesn’t work out for some women but I don’t understand not even trying?
It doesn’t actually matter if you don’t understand, though. You can just shut up and go about your business and do what you think. It best for your own family.
You don’t need to understand. That was the whole point of this post. It’s our responsibility to make the best decision for OUR family at the time. We shouldn’t be trying to make decisions for other people.
I also don’t understand why mental health is less important than physical health? Should I have put myself through flashbacks and recurrence of the PTSD that I had been fighting for the past two years? Should I have risked my early relationship with my child? Is that not enough of a “reason”?
Oops, typo: that’s “what you think is best”
Seriously, why do other people’s baby-feeding choices bother you so much?
From what I know of the court case didn’t most of the witnesses lie about the abuse?
What the heck is this a response to?
Oh this is one of those incredibly fun people who believes that convicted sex offenders are convicted for no good reason. She’s basically accusing me (and others) of lying in court. Pleasant human.
You don’t get PTSD from nothing. And you don’t go through court for no reason.
I’ll be deleting any further comments from this person who clearly has nothing better to do with their time.
Ugh. Sorry you have to deal with garbage people like that.
That’s ok. Once I figured out who she was I realised she’s not worth it.
Oh NOW I know who you are! And now I know you’re not worth my time or effort. Bye bye!
“Lie about the abuse”?! WTF Maxine? I don’t know where you are coming from but this is getting out of judgemental territory and into the downright wrong.
Exactly. They choose not to. Did you read the whole comment above? You know, about having choices about your own body? Or Laura’s entire blog, about choosing what is best for her own family and situation?
I just don’t get it. I don’t get how you can read this blog and see that Laura has carefully considered her choice for what has the most benefit for her own health and her own family wellbeing on the whole, and still decide that only one possible choice (conveniently the one that YOU made) could possibly be the ‘right’ one, despite all the detriment it would cause to Laura and by extension her baby.
Unless you don’t believe her. In which case, congratulations for dismissing her experience and words and mental health completely. I would think the person best in a position to evaluate her own life is that person herself. But hey – that’s just my assessment.
Well how do you expect people to not judge when you won’t allow them the opportunity to understand?
Ok. So every woman who makes a choice that is different to you has to explain her reasons, yes? We can’t just go through life assuming that the vast majority of mothers around us are intelligent women who care unconditionally about their babies and have made informed decisions? We can’t just build one another up rather than tearing one another down? Is that really so hard?
No but those who go ranting about it and thrusting their opinion should be able to have a discussion about it without getting defensive
I’m a breast feeder. I enjoy it and believe that those who wish to breastfeed should be supported completely in doing so. It certainly hasn’t been the “easy” option while dealing with tongue tie, oversupply and other issues. Plus there’s still sterilising which needs doing if I pump a feed while I attend hospital appointments (shock horror, an artificial nipple in place of my god given one!) I know and understand risks and benefits but I refuse to get on a soap box about it. That’s because, above all else, I believe in supporting other women. While we have men in power deciding who gets to have contraception and access to safe abortions and womens shelters, we need to be one anothers biggest supporters and advocates. So I TRUST other women. I trust them to understand risks and benefits and make an informed decision based on their situation. If I didn’t trust them, I would just sound judgmental and a bit of a dick to be honest. I’ve also seen first hand amongst my sisters the effects of forcing breastfeeding onto a woman who has issues surrounding it. So above breastfeeding and bottle feeding, I believe in body autonomy. I believe that a woman should be allowed to decide who does and doesn’t touch her breasts. I believe that a woman should be allowed to breastfeed or bottle feed in public without tearing one another apart. And so do Laura and Amy and I’ve found that pretty evident in their blog so far. As somebody who has spoken to Laura at great length about this, I truly believe that she has made the best and most informed decision for her family. I’m also pretty disgusted that other women are shaming her for it.
Fact is, we can’t win. If we do breastfeed we’re judged on how long we do it for. Then we are judged over whether we offer purees or baby led weaning. Then we are judged over whether we use a pram or a sling. Fact is, if you go into a classroom of 5 or 6 year olds and chat to the kids, the only thing which might be evident is neglect or abuse. Providing you aren’t neglecting or abusing your kids, you’re doing just fine. And it’s about time we stopped tearing each other apart for anything less.
I couldn’t agree with you more!
What really bugs the heck out of me is the assumption that breastfeeding parents don’t have any issues. Like I have pretty severe gender dysphoria & it is really really bothering me that my breasts have quadrupled in size, my son ate so frequently in the beginning my nipples were bleeding, I had to feed from one side till the other healed which was horrible with no hot water in my apartment so I couldn’t even take a shower for relief etc etc etc but this is what I signed up for when I decided to become a parent. Its great there are other options besides breastfeeding for parents that cannot breastfeed their babies for a whole host of reasons but it strikes me as kind of off that as soon as there’s an issue the first thought is formula. Not working through whatever issues, not finding a breastmilk donor, not at least trying breastfeeding but formula. We’re all lying to ourselves if we think successful marketing hasn’t influenced this strategy.
I agree regarding marketing, although in the UK first infant milk isn’t allowed to be marketed. No TV ads, so offers, no free samples – nothing. I know I’m some places women feel it is pushed on them, which is of course wrong. Each parent should be making choices for their family, which to me means there should be adequate support from healthcare professionals whichever way is chosen. I also think that in many situations, formula saves lives. It depends on each mother individually. I know mums who have switched straight to formula when they have issues and I know others who have successfully pumped or have accepted the help of a donor.
Well done on working through your personal issues with breastfeeding in order to do it successfully. If it’s important to you, that’s a decision you’ve made for your family and one to be proud of. No judgement here.
You’re doing a great job 🙂
That’s awesome that you were able to work through your issues, but not everybody can. Not everybody wants to. Pain isn’t a mandatory part of parenting, and there shouldn’t be a level of “OK, you tried hard enough and put yourself through enough pain, I guess you can stop without judgement now.” That kind of attitude is cruel.
I appreciate the struggles many women have, who go on to breastfeed successfully. I think it’s great that they have worked through to get to the point they wanted to be at. But motherhood is not a martyrdom competition. They don’t give out medals and pat you on the back for putting up with all the pain, bleeding nipples, mastitis etc. It’s your decision whether you want to go through all that. But it is absolutely not ok to imply that because you’ve been through all that, other women damn well should too – as if formula feeders were somehow lazy, undeserving mothers who just can’t be bothered. Even if a woman’s reason for formula feeding is simply because she just doesn’t want to, so what? It’s no skin off your nose, or your baby’s. If it makes you feel like you’re doing the right thing to persevere with nursing, great. But I wonder sometimes whether all that pain that some women go through – and I know it can be really tough – actually contains some secret resentment of breastfeeding which, while that would be entirely normal, can’t be expressed openly. I wonder if people who get so enraged at formula feeding are actually projecting this inner resentment out onto more relaxed mothers. I believe personally that it is extremely anti-feminist and old-fashioned to expect women to suffer and sacrifice as much as possible in order to be seen as a ‘good mother’.
Ha ha that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read, resentment because we breastfeed?! I luckily never had any problems other than a blocked duct once or twice and can assure you I am incredibly relaxed. I’m not suffering and nor have I made any ‘sacrifices’ because if you become a parent you do these things willingly, therefore the term sacrifice is irrelevant. To say it’s someone’s decision whether to put themselves through it, I don’t get how you would have a child if you weren’t prepared to. That’s what parenting is, it’s not just a cute little baby to coo over and dress up, it’s a human being who has just as many rights as you that you are responsibly for. If you don’t feel able to give them what they deserve, don’t have one. This is why I find this post so difficult to digest. Tried for years to have a baby and yet immediately just assumed certain things would have a negative effect so just don’t even bother trying, and on top of that, moaning about how they are comfortable with their decision and then going to great lengths to justify it. This does not sound like a person is has owned their decision in the way they claim.
It’s not automatically assuming. It’s being aware of my body and being aware of my triggers. I know breastfeeding would have been very damaging for my relationship with Eden. As I said, probably would have contributed to (not caused!) PND. Those early days are precious and I wasn’t out to ruin them. The assertion that you shouldn’t have a child if you’re not going to breastfeed is quite frankly disgusting. You may feel that all babies “deserve” breast milk but I personally think that a bad mental state would be very damaging for me AND for her.
This shaming is exactly what I’m talking about. I didn’t make this post to justify myself. I was merely discussing my reasons. I don’t need to justify myself. My child is happy and healthy and I’m sure yours is too, so can we agree to disagree and continue to go about our lives doing the best that we can?
Can we not just support one another without shaming?
‘Can we not just support one another without shaming?’ Exactly. My theory of ‘resentment’ is only a theory, but how else can you explain why women like the lovely Helen are so intolerant of other views and lacking compassion for the complexity of women’s experience? There must be some reason why they are so angry about blog posts like yours – why they would care so much what someone else does with their baby? It kind of fascinates me! Anyway, I admire you for your bravery and openness, Laura and Amy. I certainly don’t see any ‘moaning’ here. I see a well thought-out post. I see someone who is self-reflective and considerate, who has taken on board their past experiences and made a decision in a very mature way. I personally am just coming out of a year of very challenging PND after my second son; having my husband to help with night-time feedings – which would have been impossible if I’d exclusively breastfed – helped me get through the next day and pretty much kept me out of hospital. Maternal mental health is so much more important to a baby. People like Helen see the world in black and white and show little understanding of mental health and trauma, that’s obvious. Please don’t let them get to you 🙂
Thankyou for your support lovely. And I’m glad you are recovering from the PND. You’re doing a great job
No one should sit there and judge other ppls choices. This is all hard enough without having to deal with judgement. We all do what we think is best for our families.
I’ve breastfed 2 babies to age 2+ and the truth is, you can’t bloody win either way. Breastfeeding isn’t easy, not even if you’ve mastered it once and have a second baby. Everyone as got an opinion, my own mother (formula fed) tried talking me out of breastfeeding both times. She disgusted I feed a toddler at bed time. Both my children are happy and healthy. At the end of the day, you do what’s right for your family. None of us know each other’s back story, all we do know when we see a mum or a dad feeding their baby is that the baby is being cared for. That’s all that matters at the end of the day isn’t it? People are too quick to judge. People are dicks. We are all doing great. ✌🏼
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People who judge women for their choice in how they feed their child need a good kick up the pants. My sister didn’t breastfeed either child. I spoke to a young woman the other month who asked me about baby milk (in the course of my job) and her first words to me “I’m not breastfeeding for family reasons” in the most defensive tone and I felt so bad for her. I don’t care if she breastfeeds, I only care they both she and the baby are healthy.
I agree. We need to support each other and not knock each other down for how we feed our babies. You are doing a great job!
A fed baby is the best baby.
I’m a very mellow person when it comes to judgements, usually I reserve my harshest judgements for myself. It’s none of my business how other people get to work (bus, bike, car), how other people clean their homes, eat eggs, listen to music – as long as no one is being hurt, I don’t care.
I’m going to try and breast feed. But I also have received bottle feeding paraphernalia from two bottle mamas for just in case.
It’s hard to know how to respond to this. I am not breastfeeding through choice , but I don’t feel the need to tell everyone and to try to justify my choice. I will understand if I am tutted at, but through my choices I know to take tuts on the chin, I know I won’t give them a second thought. I know I should at least try and breastfeed, I am aware of the research showing its benefits. I won’t publicise my reasons for not breastfeeding, nor will I spend time or energy trying to justify my choice and complaining about those that disagree, instead I’ll choose to enjoy my new baby ignoring the interfering busy bodies around me with nothing better to do with their time than to judge others. All the high and mighty breast is best gang, here is a thought – A bottle fed baby isn’t in danger, but there are children in harms way, why not focus your energy on those children being hurt and do something positive to help them? those children witnessing drug taking, those not being fed at all, those being abused, those witnessing violence at home – the future for them is far worse, I promise! If someone isn’t harming their child, if they are providing a loving and safe home I don’t understand why people could be bothered to get involved, have you not got bigger things to worry about? Laura, you are doing a fine job, your baby looks lovely, healthy and happy, that is all that matters – choose to ignore looks and tuts, live for your family and accept your choices as best for your family by not letting outsiders in your head.
Thankyou lovely 🙂
I understand a lot of folk wouldn’t feel the need to write about their choices but as a blogger I do. I like to talk about this stuff. It’s just unfortunate that a post about not judging invited a fair amount of judgement – but such is the way of the Internet.
Totally agree about babies in bad situations. A commenter on here told me basically that I shouldn’t have had a child if I didn’t intend to breastfeed, which is insane. Breast milk isn’t the be all and end all. If baby is loved, warm, clothed and has good in their belly, does it really matter if that food is breast milk or formula?
There’s so much more we need to do to care for our babies as parents. We’re all doing an awesome job!
Sounds like you’re a great mom that is responsive to her little one 🙂 keep it up!
For me, formula actually saved my nursing relationship with my little. She’s 20 months old now, and we are still nursing. But the first few months were SO HARD. Pumping hurt; it gave me bruises, and I didn’t produce very well for the pump. I wasn’t sure if I was producing enough for my little one. So we started supplementing while at daycare (I think Brits call this “combo feeding” — I actually found more info on this from British websites than from American ones). She had formula there, and then I’d nurse on demand at home (usually 4 times or so — right away, evening, bedtime, and the next morning, and sometimes during the night too). I was so much happier, right away, for not having the stress of pumping along with my job and worrying about my kid.
I thank our great lactation consultant who said “feed your kid!” She explained how to make formula and also helped with nursing issues. She helped me a lot with the guilt.
The next time I have a kid, I might try a little pumping to see if it’s better. If it’s not? Definitely doing the hybrid again and moving on with life.
Your little one is lovely, and she is lucky to have two wonderful moms. Good luck and have fun!
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