With Le Leche League advocates, physicians (myself included), lactation consultants, and many moms pushing the breastfeeding agenda…where does that leave the bottle feeding mom? Many moms that I know have been unable to nurse their babies. Some had preemies who were unable to nurse. Other moms’ milk didn’t come in. Some moms gave breastfeeding a great effort before “quitting,” while others decided from the start that they only wanted to bottle-feed. Although I’m a strong supporter of breastfeeding, I’m also a strong supporter of moms, their health, and their sanity.
Every woman should be able to decide how she is going to feed her baby-without judgement or criticism! Several of my friends have adopted babies. Clearly, breastfeeding isn’t even an option in their situation without going to incredibly great lengths. The stares and comments that they have received for feeding their babies formula is insane. The fact that strangers feel comfortable criticizing how a baby is fed (breast vs. bottle) without even knowing the whole story is shocking to me.
Since I had a preemie, I was required to give my daughter two formula fortified bottles a day. Granted my bottles were breast milk mixed with formula, but all that most people saw was that I was mixing formula into a bottle. I could tell that I was getting disapproving looks. The idea that I felt guilty over feeding my baby formula (that she actually needed for the phosphorus and extra calories as a preemie) now makes me shake my head. I was doing what was best for my baby. I didn’t need other people making me feel like a bad mom.
I definitely don’t want anyone to think that I’m bashing breastfeeding! Quite the opposite. I do believe that breastfeeding provides infants with incredible benefits and that breast milk is the best nutrient option for most babies. But, I do want to give a shout out to all of the amazing mothers who either chose not to breast feed or who couldn’t. A formula fed baby can and will still grow, be healthy, develop a healthy immune system, and potentially go on to win a Nobel Prize!
As moms…we are all doing our best. We all have our children’s best interest at heart. Bottle feeding moms are just as amazing as breastfeeding moms. Don’t let anyone tell you differently or make you feel differently.
From The Mom in Me, MD