Breastfeeding, Formula Feeding, Who Cares?

115 Comments

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.

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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.

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We support you.”

A-freaking-men.

We need all the support we can get; all of us.

Comments

The Scary Mommy Community is built on support. If your comment doesn't add to the conversation in a positive or constructive way, please rethink submitting it. Basically? Don't be a dick, please.

    • 2

      Catherine says

      I am sorry but I enjoy having a week to celebrate all the challenges we have overcome to be able to breast feed!!! It is something to be proud of and celebrate. We have made it to 17 months so far. This week isn’t to bash formula feeders or moms who were not able to breastfeed. It to celebrate and support those of us who have been able to breastfeed. It is hard work and time consuming so why don’t we have a right to celebrate our hard work??? We aren’t hurting anyone. This sorta seems like you are bashing those of us who want to celebrate!!

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  1. 3

    Paige says

    I was that mom in the NICU…pumping like a crazy lady and getting only drops of milk…having an argument with the LC who accused me of poisoning my baby because I told the nurses it was ok to to supplement with formula. “A lifetime of gastrointestinal problems!” she declared in a 20min lecture on what a horrible person I am, before admitting there was no donated milk in the hospital. Before I told her to GTFO and never show her face in my room again because, seriously?! All of which is my long-winded way if saying YES! Support all moms, please! Whether you agree or not, whether you would do the same or different, just breathe. Be nice. Smile. Support.

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    • 4

      Autumn Yates says

      I’m so sorry that you had to deal with such an arrogant and stubborn person at such a sensitive and emotionally trying time. Kudos to you for standing up for yourself and your child! No new mother should ever have to be treated that way.

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    • 5

      Helen says

      I got that from one neonatologist who saw my baby when I asked how much formula should I give her if I felt like I needed to supplement her. I was old enough to be HIS mother and he’s practically shouting at me that my baby doesn’t need anything but breast milk.

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  2. 7

    Harper says

    Indeed. We need a similar movement /attitude regarding birth choices. I’m really tired of all the smugness from women who’ve given birth naturally toward those of us who had to have c sections or have epidurals to bring our babies safely into the world.

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  3. 9

    angmo says

    Thank you- 2 years later and I still have that weird empty feeling about not being able to do what is supose to be soooo natural for women to do, breastfeeding. I remember struggling and pumping for hours just to get a couple ounces and just feeling so broken, like what am I doing wrong? why can’t these stupid boobs work? There big enough! I finally gave in after 8 weeks of trying and switched over to formula. So much grief we give each other. The formula available today is just as good as a mother’s milk so let’s stop judging!

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    • 10

      Kristin says

      I know the feeling,. These 36G’s apparently do not produce enough milk. Pumped for an hour once and got one once and then accidentally spilled it. That was the end of that with my second child.

      First and third child experiences were no better. First kid, I was too sick recovering from pre-eclampsia and PPD to even think about anything else.

      Third kid started off better, but I think I was still was not producing enough milk. He nursed constantly – by the time he was 24-hours old, I had bleeding nipples. I also had a 19-month-old and 5-year-old at home and my husband worked nights. I did not need another struggle. So that ended that. :)

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    • 11

      Jenny says

      I’m all for supporting women in their parenting choices. But it just isn’t truth that formula today is as good as breastmilk.

      Also, for the record, I feel like sometimes, as a breast feeding mother, that I’m judged MORE than those who formula feed…because let’s face it, the majority in this country formula feed. People almost act like you are crazy to be so dedicated to breast feeding. Women who breast feed are regularly frowned upon and or asked to leave when nursing in public. I think that this in turn makes those of us who choose breast feeding feel a little bullied, hence the reason for pointing out that our choice is healthier and more natural. Because honestly, I dont care what you choose for your child…it’s not like you’re poisoning your kid if you choose formula for preference or need…I just want acceptance for my choice to do what I feel is best for my kid, too! It’s not just formula feeders who feel attacked or shamed.

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    • 12

      Anita@ Losing Austin says

      It’s perfectly fine to use formula by choice or by need, but part of the reason we still need breastfeeding awareness is because people still say why you just did- that formula is just as good. It’s not, and no one, even formula companies would claim it is.

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      • 13

        Tina says

        seriously? I have seen mothers smoke and drink then breast feed..how is this healthier?
        To encourage breast feeding and saying it is better than formula first educate people on proper diet when breast feeding.

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  4. 14

    Arnebya says

    I have no damns to give about how a woman feeds her baby as long as her baby is fed. Each mother loves her child so the rest is bullshit; there’s nothing else to say. Are you not going to let your kids play with mine because mine were breastfed? Are you not going to let your kids play with the kids at the park because they were formula fed? OOOH and what brand did their mom choose? Bullshit. Support everyone.

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  5. 17

    Wendy says

    Who freaking cares how your kid gets fed, as long as he/she is fed? Until you (you=judgmental person) take over the expenses of my child and watching my child starve because I can’t breastfeed, then, and only then, can you judge me. Actually, no, you can never judge me because I’m the one taking care of my child and doing what I feel is best for my child. When do you have time to care for your child if you’re spending all your time judging everyone else?

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    • 18

      Jess says

      I love this, and will plagarize this quote from now on, thank you!

      “When do you have time to care for your child if you’re spending all your time judging everyone else?”

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  6. 19

    Meg says

    My sister has MS and was unable to nurse her kids for more than four weeks before switching to formula, because her medication wasn’t safe for her babies. She went to La Leche League sking for advise on weaning and preventing engorgement. She was told she should stay off her medication and “Do what’s best for her baby.” She was so mad, she wanted to nurse, but decided having a mom who could walk and see was more important than breast/formula. I have done both, and am sick of the shaming women do over it. I was called an animal for nursing, and called lazy for formula. I dont care HOW you feed your baby, as long as you do.

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    • 20

      jennifer says

      i am so sick that some of the people from LLL because some of them dont give a damn about the mom’s well-being. It appears to be that we are just a machine who give birth and we should breastfeed regardless of any circumstances including us being ill.

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  7. 21

    Keely says

    Yup. As the one crying rivers and pumping every. three. hours. around. the. clock. The fear of failure, the *assurance* of failure, poisoning every minute of that newborn phase. Yes. I needed this then. Glad it’s out there. Share.

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  8. 22

    LBM says

    I never felt any shame in not breastfeeding. And if anyone asked or rolled their eyes, I didn’t give a sh!t. It was none of their business. I don’t understand how some women get their panties in a wad over this. What works/worked for one may not work for another….why be so damn judgmental????

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