Breastfeeding, Formula Feeding, Who Cares?
It's "World Breastfeeding Week" and "National Breastfeeding Month"; a time to celebrate nursing, eradicate shame over breastfeeding in public and educate the world on the benefits of breastfeeding.
And that's all well, good and important. For sure.
But as a mother who wasn't able to breastfeed any of my children, this month has always brought back that familiar sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach… The feeling of complete failure. Almost ten years after I struggled with feeding my first (and subsequent second and third,) there is still no other issue which brings me more shame or sadness, and Lord knows there have been plenty of parental fails since then.
And that's why I love the "I Support You" movement so much. Announced yesterday by Kim Simon from Mama by the Bay, Suzanne Barston from Fearless Formula Feeder, and Jamie-Lynne Grumet from I Am Not The Babysitter (and cover model from the infamous Time magazine article), it's meant to bridge the gap between formula-feeding and breastfeeding mothers; spreading the notion that we're all feeding our children with love; by breastfeeding, formula feeding, however.
"We are standing together, and we're asking you to stand up with us. You, at the La Leche League meeting. You, in the lactation consultant's office, perfecting your newborn's latch. You, in the Nordstrom's dressing room, nursing quietly on the couch. You, at your older son's baseball game, nursing openly in the bleachers. You, who have cried rivers of tears over your feeding choices, and you, who chose without fear.
I support you.
You, in your hospital gown, asking the nurses for formula. You, shaking a bottle with one arm while your baby snuggles close in the other. You, who have researched the healthiest, most tummy-friendly formulas. You, who pump and mix and combo-feed. You, who have cried rivers of tears over your feeding choices, and you, who chose without fear.
I support you.
You, with your partner, as you feed the baby that you are hoping to adopt. You, who had a mastectomy and are locking eyes with new life. You, who chose your mental health, or your physical health, or your freedom, or your lack of freedom, so that you could feed your baby in a way that protected both of you. You, the Daddy who is finger-feeding your infant. You, the Mommy who lovingly pours formula into a G-Tube. You, at the NICU, pumping your breasts by the light of the machines that are keeping your baby alive. You, with the foster child who you are loving back to health. We see you. You are a part of this conversation too.
We support you."
We need all the support we can get; all of us.