Let’s have a reality check, moms. We are mean to one another. We judge. We assume. We pity. We give unwanted advice. Enough already. We are all wearing clothes with some form of kid stain on it; whether they are yoga pants or dress pants is merely a detail. We all have mom guilt about something. We all worry if we are doing right by our kids. We are all in the same boat. So why are we so hard on each other? Let’s call a truce on just one thing: infant feeding. If you feed your baby when they’re hungry, you rock. End of story.
I want to talk about this because we have all been there. You are either on Team Breastfeeding or Team Bottle Feeding … or maybe a little bit of both. Each team has their reasons, their rationale and their own perspective. I recently read an amazing story about a new mom who was being judged for bottle feeding her baby. Little did those judgmental moms know, she was a breast cancer survivor and could not feed her child. Did you hear that? A BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR! Her story was from the heart. It was deep. And it was one mom’s real struggle.
But much to my dismay, comments on Facebook were ripping her apart for her inability to breastfeed her child. For the love of God, she had cancer …. physically, it won’t happen, people! Leave her alone. Instead, let’s sing her praises for what she has overcome and the wonderful job she is doing. Put yourself in her shoes: she is probably so terrified that her baby girl will also suffer from cancer. Breast or bottle feeding is the LEAST of her worries! But people can be mean. And vocal.
I personally have shared my story about my feeding struggles. I have been judged. Readers have assumed they know everything about what happened in my case and given me irrelevant advice. I know they mean well, but please don’t assume that you know what happened in my hospital room. Now I am preparing for the arrival of #2. I am faced with this feeding struggle again. I am sure if I try and succeed this time, I will be told it is because I did E, F and G correctly. If I try and fail, I will be told how I did X, Y and Z incorrectly. If I don’t even attempt to breastfeed again, it means that I don’t love my child, right? Insert eyeroll.
Let’s not assume that a breastfeeding mom is having an easy time or that it is a walk in the park … or dare I say that she even LIKES it. How do we know if that baby is latching perfectly, the supply is plentiful and nothing hurts? We don’t! After all, it is not our boobs and baby involved. At the same time, let’s also be careful not to assume that bottle feeding moms didn’t give it their best effort. We don’t know. We are not her.
And, let’s chat outcomes. Someone please show me the scorecard of the number of astronauts, presidents and Nobel Prize winners that were breastfed or bottle fed. Do you know if Thomas Edison was breastfed or bottle fed? Do you care every time you turn on the light switch? Is the person that will find the cure to cancer breastfed or bottle fed? How did Steve Jobs’ mom feed him? Can you tell if I was breastfed or bottle fed? No, you can’t. At the end of the day – on our collective pursuit of happiness – does it even really matter?
For the record, I am really not here to refute the research that says breast is best. We can all agree on that. Rather, my goal is to provide a voice for those of us who bottle fed because there just aren’t as many loud voices out there on the topic.
Again, I repeat :: if you are feeding your child, you rock! None of us deserve to be on pedastals any more than the next person. We are all equal. We are all doing our best. We are all just trying to make it through the waking hours with our sanity somewhat intact. We are all moms.
And finally, I leave you with this. Think of the moms that you love, admire and try to emulate. Do you care if they breastfed their child? Probably not. You are probably more holistically focused on how they are raising and interacting with their children. So if you were the goddess of breastfeeding, congratulations! That is amazing, and many women would love to trade places with you. If you were the queen of bottle feeding, congrats to you as well! You also successfully nourished your child … and as a bonus your hubby got to be a part of the process.
Great article Linzy!! I’m a fellow bottle mommy 🙂 I always feel like I have to give a long explanation about why I couldn’t breastfeed. The reality is my baby is super healthy and really happy. That’s enough for me!! Congrats on #2.. we’re expecting again in April and I’m bottle all the way!!!
I just wanted to say thank you. I am nineteen years old and have been married for two years (yes I know I am super young, please hold judgment) . We are expecting our first and we are super excited and totally terrified. I was diagnosed with a chronic illness when I was very young and was lucky enough to be blessed with remission shortly before the wedding. When I found out I was pregnant it was enough to wrap my mind around much less when we found out I was falling out of remission at the beginning of my third trimester. The doctors have said that even with aggressive chemo the odds of survival are at less than 25%. You would not believe how much I have been attacked by friends and close family not to mention perfect strangers for the fact that I can not breastfeed. People don’t seem to understand that it is not a choice. I spent weeks crying myself to sleep not only over the fact that I feel less like a mother because I won’t be able to feed my son the way I always wanted to but also over the fact that I may only have a short time to get to know the miracle we have been blessed with. It has taken me a long time to brush off the comments about bottle feeding and know that I am giving my son the best I can give him. The mommy shaming because a woman choses not to breastfeed needs to stop. So thank you so much for taking a stand and giving us a voice.