Judgement Over Not Breastfeeding

69 Comments

There are a million parenting issues I’ve been judged for, but not breastfeeding my babies tops the list. How is this anyone’s business but mine?

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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.

  1. ML says

    Thank you Jill for this post. I so wanted to breastfeed and couldn’t because I wasn’t physically able to. People were so horrible and mean…and it started with the nurses in the hospital. They pressured me and were almost like bullies. No new mom needs this and I agree, my kids are just great!!

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  2. Pamela Roberts Griffith says

    I was surprised when I had my first baby and asked my (public health nurse) mom about her breastfeeding experience, only to be told that she didn't nurse any of her three children. It was the 70s – formula was "in" and breastfeeding was for hippies and the poor who couldn't afford formula – which was, at the time, considered superior to mother's milk. Despite this, I'm happy to say, we all turned out normal, productive and caring people.

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    • Lynn M. Roberts says

      Ahem…laLeche league was active in the 60's and early 70's..economic situation wasn't a factor ..bottle feeding was more popular than breast…my mom breast fed 7 kids in the 40's and 50's ….working mom's went back to work after 6 weeks so it wasn't practical….women's movement changed it and gave you the choices you have today!

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  3. Essie says

    Oh thank you for this! You hear about people being criticized for breast feeding but not where I am. If you don’t nurse in the northeast you are either assumed to be neglectful or completely ignorant and unaware of the breast is best message attached to everything even formula commercials.

    I didn’t because it was so difficult with my first that trying was causing far bigger problems for my infant. I was so scared of losing my mind again I didn’t even try for my 2nd. My kids are incredibly healthy and smart and social. They were also circumcised and I don’t hover over them with organic snacks at the playground. Oh well!

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  4. Melissa says

    Thank you for this. I was unable to nurse my first child and now number two is on the way. I too felt judged and appreciate knowing there are others who share in the sentiment that it should be a mother’s business and not the world’s. Thank you for making me relax!

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  5. Stacey says

    I appreciate this post & the comments but why do we all have to quantify our decision not to breast feed? So far each of you has offered a reason & said I so wanted to but couldn’t for x reason. That is fine but does that mean that if you just didn’t want to bc of a personal reason/choice should you be judged/condemned/whatever? Just my thoughts….

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    • CEMomma says

      This is what makes it so infuriating. Mothers have been judged and ridiculed so consistently for not breast feeding that now even when they speak out against the judgement, they feel the need to defend themselves. I still defend my breast defects that caused me to be unable to breastfeed, even though the reality is after trying for 2 months to feed my child I was in so much pain that I wouldn’t have lasted much longer anyway. I couldn’t see it as bonding time when I was dreading feeding him.

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  6. Jen says

    I think it’s simply awful how some folks get so worked up on how you are, or are not, feeding your baby. Isn’t the fact that the baby is being fed, nurtured & cared for what is really the most important thing?!? It shouldn’t matter if you breast feed or bottle feed your child.

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  7. Fiona says

    So, here’s what I’ve got to add…..never in my life have I been asked in a job interview, a school application, or anywhere else if I was formula or breast fed. I am pretty sure my children won’t be either. I made a decision that was best for me, my children and my family (and yes, I’m intentionally not saying what I did – because it doesn’t matter). My children are healthy, and growing…..it’s sad that people make judgments on things like this…..take care of your children the best way you see fit – formula or breast milk….what matters is LOVE!

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  8. Deborah says

    I breast fed my two older boys, who are now teenagers. I now have a 7 month old. I would have loved to breast feed him too. I wasn’t able to, however, due to a necessary medication that I cannot go without. It took a lot of research to determine if it was safe or not. When it came down to it, nothing said it wasn’t a problem, but there was nothing saying it was safe either. We decided not to risk it and decided on formula. Even though I was having a scheduled c-section, I still wrote a birth plan, mostly to provide nurses information about my medical condition. The most important thing I included in that plan was that we had decided on formula and I did not want any well-meaning nurse to come in making me feel bad for not nursing him. They respected it to the letter, and even though I was in recovery for 6 hours due to complications, they brought my son to me so I could give him his first bottle.

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  9. Meghan says

    YES. After a bout of mastitis and a baby boy who was losing weight, the lactation nurse looked at me on visit #6 or 7 (they all ran together at that point!) and said, “look, it’s not working. He will be healthier eating formula.” She was great, but I was DEVASTATED. It surely didn’t help that other moms often approached my bottle-fed baby as though he were being fed rat poison by someone who couldn’t be bothered to feed him properly. It was shocking. Baby boy #2 is due in October, and I will feel no guilt whatsoever if nursing doesn’t work. The first one is too smart for his own good and has a minor Oedipus complex, so I think he managed okay despite the Enfamil.

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  10. Gingersnap says

    While I do think breast milk is superior to formula, I do not think moms should torture themselves and or each other over this issue. Seriously. I have got a looong list of better things to do.

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    • Gingersnap says

      I have a bit more to add.

      One of my BFFs tried so hard to nurse. She had lactation consultants (plural). She talked to her doctor, nurses and me. (I did breast feed my kids.) She wanted so badly to breast feed her kid, but it wasn’t happening. After weeks, she was so frustrated and tired and depressed. I urged her to stop trying after she’d been trying for a month. Being a new mom is really hard without crucifying yourself over this issue. She was bawling. She felt inadequate and was feeling resentment towards the baby for not breast feeding. It was ruining so much precious time with her son. There was no need for all of that.

      >>I am not a superior mother because my kid and my tits cooperated.<<

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