Well, this is my personal view, so it's not prescriptive of anything or anyone else.
But i was definitely going to breastfeed. I have really big breasts and flat nipples so i did the prep classes and i got a bunch of really good books.
I had DD1 at home with midwives in attendance, and avoided narcotics and gave birth after a very short labour (84mins) to a lovely vigorous girl who, after about 40mins, wanted to nurse. She latched on and away we went. Everything (with feeding) was great for 4 months.
I began to get thin. Very thin. Within 4 months i'd lost 40+lbs. I was thinner than i'd been since i was 15. I had a huge goitre. So clearly, i had a thyroid problem. My supply began to drop. I pumped, i took herbs, i nursed. XP and i had split when DD was 8weeks and i moved out from his apartment when she was 17weeks. I was under immense emotional stress trying to forge a functional co-parenting relationship with a man who essentially hated me. I struggled on. Once i'd left i had to pump for when she was with him, and i stopped getting a let-down for the pump, so 60 painful minutes of pumping would get me 2oz, and my breasts would be hard and lumpy with milk still. It was pretty miserable, and of course my supply suffered even more.
Eventually i was so ill (resting heartrate was 38bpm) and tired i went to the doctor who told me my thyroid was seriously out of whack but that because of the size of the goitre i had to have a radioactive iodine uptake test before he'd medicate me to make sure it wasn't cancer. I'd have to pump and dump for a MONTH to have that test so i might as well wean. I declined the test (and thus could get no treatment) and struggled on, supplementing with FF as DD dropped first curves, then actual weight. By the time DD was 7 months old i only fed her once a day from the breast. I decided, given it was "only one feed" that i should wean her. I did. Within days my goitre began to shrink and ironically by the time i got back to the doctor 3 weeks later my bloods had improved so dramatically that the dr relented and put me on thyroxine without the RIU test (and since then i have learned that there is a sort of iodine that only requires 1 week of not nursing AND the milk needn't be dumped, it loses its radioactivity in the freezer and can safely be drunk after a number of weeks, but none of that was important to the dr, he just thought i was a hippy weirdo wanting to BF my non-newborn). So from 4 months she was supplemented with FF, and from 7 months she was totally FF.
I felt immense guilt. It is the sort of mother i am - a breastfeeding mother. Being unable to BF was like finding out i was a different race from what i'd believed or something. It was devastating to my sense of self at a time (during my early days as a first time mother) when my sense of self was already pretty transitional and alien. I read stories of women crying through every painful breastfeed - i did that through so so many FFeeds. Ultimately my DD would not even be held to eat anymore, she would just scream and arch in my arms until i lay her on the rug and handed her the bottle. It was the most heartbreaking time for me. I hated myself. I hated my broken body. I hated my empty breasts. And late at night, when as a breastfeeder i would have just offered her a feed and snuggled down, instead i stood at the sink preparing a bottle and hated my daughter. It absolutely impacted on my bonding, and i wore DD until she was past 3 and i was pregnant, and a lot of that was for the bonding.
And it really opened my eyes. Because before i had a baby i KNEW i would BF and i thought i knew what FFing meant about a person. It meant they hadn't tried hard enough - i mean, only a small %age of women CANNOT BF, the rest were too lazy to get educated, to try to do it, to seek the right help. Right? But being a bottle feeder i got talking to other bottle feeders, and i am yet to meet that ignorant lazy person. All the women i know, when they feel safe enough to talk honestly about it, felt devastated, conflicted, broken and sad about their feeding choices. All of them came to their final decision through love. All of them had some regret over their feeding choices. All of them know "breast is best" but that never translated into a functional feeding relationship for them and their babies. I donated my milk to one such mother when i had #2 (and feeding went much better), she cried with gratitude, she made me his godmother, we consider our kids siblings now. She is under no illusions about milk. She had stark decisions and she made them how she made them. From the outside it looks like she simply chose FF. But nothing is ever that simple.
If people want to judge because one choose to formula feed or breastfeed. Fine so be it. Because what it comes down to is choices. And while some choices are proven to be best it isn't always best for all parties involved. Yes breast is best and we all know that. But formula is a close second. Sometimes people say things like I just don't want to because its easier to say that then go into the real reason. I know I did it when we were asked about why we didn't have kids. I just started telling people I didn't like kids. That was a lot easier then going into the number of years we tried and nothing and all my medical problems. Same with breastfeeding. Its easier to say nah I don't want to, because of X Y or Z when the real reason could be they so dearly wanted to but failed or whatever else it maybe.
But its human nature to judge and so be it. In the end it shouldn't matter if you are judged or not. Just be confident in the choices you(general) make for your child and be happy with it. And if you feel guilt then maybe you need to stop and see why you feel guilty. No one should ever feel guilty for doing what they feel is best for their child when taking all things into consideration.
Yes there are some truly selfish people out there but I don't feel breastfeeding/formula feeding is one of those situations because they have 18 yrs of all sorts of battles and choices.
As far as this OP well I would be outraged if someone nursed my child without my permission. And it would not end very well.
I think it's one thing to make a snap judgement of a situation, but realize that judgement is wrong, and that you are making that judgement because you are being an imperfect human. I think it's another to bestow judgement on others and not think there is anything wrong with the act of your judging. If you think you are in the position to do that, then you probably could use a slice of humble pie.
Really, outside of neglect or abuse, I think judgement has no place in parenting. Mothers lives are hard enough and we should support each other. Let's not make this into a competition. If you feel you are doing what's best, why bother with what others do?
I agree with this kathy
Yes - ish.
I struggled learning to nurse my firstborn for the first month of his life. It was a really hard time (perhaps harder than anything else I have done) and i did supplement with formulas as he would not latch on well and I could not pump enough. I did feel judged while supplementing (went to a baby and me meeting where everyone gawked at the formula in his bottle). To be honest, I think it could have gone either way in that first month - I might have given up nursing or not (I did not). Had I given up I do not think I would have felt any guilt about it - I gave it the best shot I could have : lactation consultants, reading, pumping, etc. I was very close to giving up.
I really do have a lot of compassion and no judgment for women who want to breastfeed and can't. Truly.
My judgment is reserved for those who do not bother to learn about the benefits of breastfeeding and do not even try. Now it may be that you hang out with a better class of women than i do, but in my 39 years on this earth I have heard the following from pregnant women who did not even intend to try:
- I have been pregnant for 9 months - I want my body back
-I seems like too much work
-It is gross and I will never be able to leave the house
Really, that is who my judgment (which I never express IRL, btw) is reserved for. It is only reserved for women I know (because they have expressed it to me!) cannot be bothered trying to nurse -it is not for random women bottle feeding on the street - because how the heck am I to know their story?
I am not sure this judgement is misplaced - shouldn't women try to do best by their children? Isn't breast best if you can do it?
I really want to restate that part of the problem with judging anyone's decision on BFing is that you don't know the whole story. When I don't want to tell people about my medical condition/the medication I take, and they ask why I'm not BFing, my answer is going to be "just decided not to." And that's going to have to be good enough for them. After that explanation, they may assume that that is the whole story, and if they get judgey, I will not be impressed.
I can think of lots of conditions people might not want to tell you about, including a sexual abuse history, serious body image issues that could contribute to PPD, and any number of medications or medical conditions.
I sure as heck wasn't going to tell random people that my foster babies were foster.
I guess it depends on how you define good. Formula is not as good for you as breastmilk. Period. Maybe that does not make it "bad" - but breastmilk being far better than formula is a good enough reason for me to choose it.
If I feed my children junk food regularly should I not feel guilty?
I think breatmilk goes beyond personal choice. It is better for babies, and I think babies deserve it if it is possible.
Maybe I am feeling punchy today, but I do judge women who choose not to nurse. I do not judge women who cannot nurse, and I do not judge random women whose story I do not know - but if I know your story and know you don't want to nurse because your sister had difficultites, you want to go out partying, or you want your figure back fast, yeah I judge. Breastmilk is the superior choice and babies deserve it if we can do it.
Who are you to judge who has chosen not to feed and who could not? I was blessed to come from a long line of natural birthing extended breastfeeding women and my family would be SHOCKED if I didn't breastfeed. But it was HARD!!!! I didn't expect it to be so difficult. The first two weeks were pure hell. My baby shrieked like I was harming her when I tried to latch her, would not nurse without the dreadful nipple shield, didn't get enough when she latched WITH that horrid contraption, and was starving constantly. She was also born with an extreme tongue tie. Fortunately, everyone in my life supported me and helped me overcome the major obstacles I initially had (that I really think were largely created by the lactation consultant at the hospital). I got a second LC who came to my home an worked with me to develop a way to retrain my DD how to nurse on my nipple.
You know what? Most people don't have that much support. I have many friends who ended up having C-Sections who had immense difficulty nursing and eventually were guided to first supplementing with formula and then full time formula feeding. The vast majority of these women had every intention of breastfeeding but were crushed that they could not do it on their own and didn't have the support to figure out how to exclusively breastfeed. To you, perhaps these women "chose" not to breastfeed. To me, it is a symptom of a huge societal problem and I would not judge them individually.
To the women who never try and simply make the choice before giving it a chance, I don't know their stories. Perhaps they have intimacy issues due to sexual abuse. Maybe they were raised with formula and never knew someone who breastfed. Maybe their family members were judgmental towards breastfeeding mothers and derogatory towards them. Maybe they read a study saying that formula is better. Who am I to judge them?
I did what was right for me and for my child, but I could never presume to make that choice for anyone else. No one disputes that breastmilk is best, but that does not mean formula is poison. I also think that until the rhetoric gets dialed back that breastfeeding moms and FF moms will be pitted against each other, which is not in anyone's interest.
If you're going to use the term imitation breast milk, why not just go with imitation breast instead of "bottle"? It might be accurate, but it's still offensive.
Well, I guess while we're getting all offended I should let you know I'm offended by the term formula. j/k
Mama of Liam--your picture of your son is so cute I can't stand it. What a darling!
And I am ENTIRELY offended by your offensensitivity regarding the term formula. We named DS2 "Formula" and we think it's a lovely name. J/K right back at you ha ha
Why thank you caedenmomma!
You just made me laugh so hard my tummy hurts!!!
This made me think of the term "artificial nipples" which I know what is meant-- pacifiers and bottle nipples-- but for some reason it makes me think of rubber nipples being put on over human nipples and it makes me giggle every time. Or of the bottles that are intended to be breast and nipple shaped. Those give me an inward giggle as well. (No offense meant to anyone who uses or used them, it just strikes me juvenilely funny.)