Bottlefeeding Is Not Wrong

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Reading this story from The Guardian today has left me fuming. Saying that “Baby formula has no place in a sustainable future” is like slapping all bottle-feeding moms in the face.

First of all, yes, I 100% agree that breastfeeding a baby is healthier for both baby and mama. BUT, it’s not always possible. In fact, a lot of times moms just aren’t able to do it – for a variety of reasons. That top reason? CHOICE. It’s horrible when a news outlet basically says those who don’t breastfeed are shitty moms. Yes, they have freedom of the press and free speech, however it’s very unclassy to single out a group of mothers who aren’t able to or don’t wish to breastfeed. If there’s going to be a story about breastfeeding versus bottle-feeding, at least make sure all the facts regarding BOTH sides are included in the article and don’t single out a group of women negatively.

I agree, the United States has seen an upturn in breastfeeding in recent years and I would have loved to continue to breastfeed my son. Unfortunately, after 3 weeks of attempting to sustain supply, it just wasn’t in the cards for me. I tried it all – Fenugreek, massage, relaxation techniques. Nothing. Nada. Therefore, we had to bottle-feed with formula. Even while in the hospital I was never instructed on HOW to bottle-feed. Everything was BREASTFEED, BREASTFEED, BREASTFEED. Not once did anyone in our baby classes mention anything regarding formula or bottle-feeding. It was all pro-breastfeeding. I had planned on breastfeeding from the get-go, but what if I hadn’t? Would I have been judged? Criticized? The answer is yes. Especially at a hospital that advocates breastfeeding-only practices.

Another problem I have? The Guardian making statements that ARE NOT TRUE. Including this one:

the free formula sample bag given in many hospitals includes an ice-pack to help stop milk flow in new mothers.

The ice pack is for use in a cooler to keep breast milk or formula cold while away from home. There are molded ice packs out there for mothers who choose to stop breastfeeding to soothe painful and engorged breasts. But, the packs included in formula company freebies are not marketed for use on breasts.

This statement also makes absolutely ZERO sense in regards to formula:

a sustainable future will require certain industries – not just tobacco and fossil fuels, air travel and automobiles, even baby formula – to become much much smaller to sustain a population of nine billion human beings.

Why will the BABY FORMULA industry need to become smaller to sustain a population of 9 billion? I understand the others – tobacco and fossil fuels, air travel, and automobiles – but what does baby formula have to do with sustaining the environment?

I by no means consider myself a “green mom,” however I recycle and do what I can to help the environment. I understand formula-feeding does promote the use of plastic baby bottles, rubber nipples, and the materials (generally cardboard and plastic) used to distribute the formula to stores. But, once again, shrinking the industry may hinder the access some moms need to feed their child.

Questions to be answered in response to this article:

  • What do moms who adopt do? They aren’t able to breastfeed.
  • What about moms who can’t sustain an adequate supply for their child?
  • Breastfeeding moms who return to work pump a supply to be fed to their child by a caregiver IN A BOTTLE. How is THIS helping the environment? Bottles are still purchased and used.
  • What about moms who have an ailment or disease and can’t breastfeed because of it?
  • What about mothers who aren’t okay with feeding their baby “donation breast milk?”

Just some things to think about when promoting a breastfed-only world. It isn’t possible – AND THAT’S OK. Freedom of speech is one thing, but freedom of choice is also important and moms should not be criticized for formula-feeding their baby.

Oh, and one more thing. This article was WRITTEN BY A MAN.

I was reading the comments on this article and I really enjoyed this one by user EDavMA:

I strongly believe that the mother’s mental health is more important to a baby than her breast milk. Even without reading the author’s name, I would’ve known instantly that this had been written by a man. I agree that everything should be done to help encourage and facilitate breastfeeding but not if it risks the mother’s mental well-being. Breastfeeding is hard – as much as it sounds natural on paper, some babies won’t take to it, it hurts like you wouldn’t believe (something the author of this article will never experience) – from bleeding and peeling nipples to engorged breasts and blisters, some mothers’ bodies just aren’t physically equipped properly and others will find it mentally difficult. After a tough 2 weeks of the above mentioned side effects, I could physically breastfeed very well, but I was finding it mentally very hard. I managed 3 months and then started moving to formula. Now my baby is on formula exclusively and I’m in a much better place mentally and stress wise. I’m not stupid, I understand the benefits of breastfeeding but I just couldn’t sustain it. This article should be re-written by a woman, a mother, who has experienced the difficulties of breastfeeding.

I, too, struggled not only physically to breastfeed, but mentally. This article should have been written by a woman who has experienced the ups and downs of breastfeeding. Men have no idea what women go through, therefore have NO OPINION on the subject.

Do what feels right FOR YOU! Don’t let ANYONE make you feel like less of a mom because you choose not to or can’t breastfeed. You know what’s right for you and your baby. -themidwestmama

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