Thursday, January 24, 2013

Breastmilk or formula

For me... Sometimes a post is like a sneeze.... you feel it coming on and there is nothing you can do to stop it....

This post is a sneeze.

The age old debate... 
Breastmilk or formula. 
Good vs Evil. 
The absolute best vs liquid poison. 
Best mom vs unqualified mom.

WHO REALLY CARES?! I think we need to start a  new debate.
Feeding your baby vs not feeding your baby.

I have read them all: debates that prove breastmilk is superior and debates that prove formula is just as good. 
Studies that show formula feeding moms do more work compared to breastfeeding moms. Studies that show breastfeeding moms love their children more. 



COME ON! Our society is full of judgmental wieners that have nothing better to do than pass negative comments around for what ever reason. Why do we need to pit moms against each other? Why is it not enough that moms love their babies and are doing the very best they can?  Why do we have to put mothers into a breastfeeding category or a formula feeding category?

I read a Huff Post article, written by The Fearless Formula Feeder, yesterday and it really hit me. Why should women be made to feel guilty of how they either choose to or are made to feed their babies? You all know I am ALL for breastfeeding. I would love to see all babies breastfed. I would love to see all mothers feel the emotions of feeding their babies. But this is a dream, a dream that is so far from reality. Not ALL mothers CAN breastfeed, not ALL mothers CHOOSE to breastfeed. Not ALL mothers are ABLE to provide their babies with enough breastmilk. 

I will most likely make some Breastfeeding Advocates a little upset right now... But I kinda like going against the grain and this is MY blog... SOOOO here is BIG breastfeeding SHOCKER--- I do NOT think formula is evil. I do NOT think formula is the end all of breastfeeding. I do NOT write off moms because they either choose not to breastfeed or are unable to breastfeed. (I am not saying all breastfeeding advocates feel that way. But some do.)  I do not like it when people try to guilt trip others into doing something. Trying to FEAR someone into doing anything is not going to help them. If anything it will hurt them in the long run. As human beings, we are our own worst critics. If we fail at something, we never let ourselves forget it. If we are unable to make a goal, one that we set for ourselves, we punish ourselves. WHY OH WHY would we need others to help us with that? We do not. We do not need others passing judgment, labeling us, making us feel guilty over a choice we have made (or not made depending on the situation.)

I am a firm believer in educating and supporting. In most cases, non support is the main reason in not breastfeeding. It IS important to reach out to those mothers, to show them that people are there for them. But it is also important to accept when a mother chooses to formula feed. Not all mothers are able to find breastmilk donors and not all mothers are comfortable with the idea of donated breastmilk. 
Breastfeeding and formula feeding are choices. Choices made with much thought (in most cases.) 

Sure, some women do not "like" the thought of breastfeeding. And as long as they do not judge breastfeeding mothers... then all power to them. I do not like Liver Worst... but I do not judge those who do.

Why do I feel this way?  Why do I not "hate" formula? Because once upon a time we used it! That's right! This breastfeeding Mummie and breastfeeding advocate used formula... You want to know something else? I used it WHILE I was breastfeeding! When Pooker was a month old we gave her two formula bottles a day. With her health problems we found it was easier on her to have a bottle at her two worst feedings of the day. When she had her formula bottle, I pumped and created a great frozen stash. This lasted for 2 months before we were able to give her breastmilk bottles instead. Never in that time frame did my supply ever drop. We used formula for 2 months and my breastmilk supply never changed. Then at 11 months old, one month shy of our breastfeeding goal, I had to stop breastfeeding her due to a high risk pregnancy. We stopped cold turkey and I was a terrible mess. I hated myself, I felt like a failure. Why couldn't I breastfeed while pregnant? Then buying formula in the store was a kick in the a$$. I felt eyes on me, judging me. It was a month of hell before we stopped formula and went to cow's milk.  

Don't even get me started on the judgmental looks I got while breastfeeding in public! It did not matter where I was. Nursing at a store, on a park bench, in my own car. If someone walked by and noticed what I was doing... more times than not I got a stern look. One time some old lady about gave herself whip lash as she walked by me, add the evil eye she gave and I was shaking in my nursing bra (NOT!). I even got a LOUD comment of "Ewww. is she BREASTfeeding?" from a young lady ("lady" used loosely... as half of her booty was hanging out of her shorts) while I breastfed IN MY CAR.

So you see.... we all get comments. We ALL are given negative judgments from others. That is one thing breastfeeding mothers and formula feeding mothers have in common (besides the never ending love we have for our babies... yeah 'cause we have that in common too.)

WHY do we put ourselves through that? I was not a failure. No one is a failure. We do what we can, the best way we know how. We feed our babies when they are hungry. Who gives anyone the right to make us feel bad about how we are feeding our babies? I do not and will not feel guilty about breastfeeding Kit Kat at age 3. I no longer feel I was a failure for giving Pooker formula because I could not breastfeed her to our goal. I am PROUD of how I fed our girls. I am PROUD I made a choice that worked for us. I am PROUD I was able to FEED Pooker formula when my frozen breastmilk stash ran out. I am proud of that because she was STILL EATING. And you should be proud too. Either you did the best you could or you choose a path that was best for your family. 
Either way... own it and be proud of it.

People need to get off of their high horses and stop judging others. 
Breastmilk or formula.  Neither word says anything about loving a child more.  
We are women. We love our babies. We do the best we can with what we got. 
THAT should be enough.
And it IS enough.

Now with ALL of that being said. I AM a breastfeeding advocate. I LOVE supporting women in their breastfeeding journey. I LOVE helping when help is needed. I LOVE being there to watch a Mummie's breastfeeding journey. I support a mother's right to breastfeed her baby anywhere/anytime for how ever long her and her "baby" want. BUT I am also a "Mommyadvocate." Every mother needs and deserves support, regardless of how she feeds her baby. No Mummie should feel they are "left out in the cold" to handle what ever comes up, simply because they went down a different path.

Right here and right now... I would LOVE to see breastfeeding and formula feeding mothers take a stand, hand in hand, one with a bottle and one with a boob! 
We shall not be judged by you. 
We will stand together and we will be strong.

Rock YOUR Journey... no matter what journey you are on!

**ACHHHOOOOOO! Tissue please.**

~Mummie

8 comments:

  1. So well said! I will never understand why we have to be at war with each other :) Love, love, LOVE THIS!

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  2. buckeyesara1982@aol.comJanuary 24, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    Thank you for posting this. I'd like to share a moment of my journey, for those that may disagree with you and think that formula feeding mothers are lazy, uncaring, etc.
    I was 23 and my husband and I had been married for 3 years when we decided, since we had a stable marriage, a home of our own, college degrees and steady jobs, to start a family. At such a young age, no one expects to have any trouble conceiving. After a year of trying, we started using advanced technologies and infertility drugs to conceive. 3 IUIs, 4 IVFs, 1 miscarriage and a myriad of tests later, we were still without a child and no real answers from our doctor as to why. At that point, we felt called to adopt and, when we were matched with a soon to be born baby girl, I expressed my interest in adoptive breastfeeding. The women at the local hospital's lactation center acted like I had made a very weird request and, when we got to the hospital after our daughter's birth, the nursing staff in the NICU looked at me like I had two heads when I told them what I planned to do. Despite using a breast pump as instructed, I was never able to produce so much as a drop for my daughter. 18 months later, I discovered that I was miraculously pregnant with our son. I was ready for a 2nd attempt at breastfeeding and knew that it would work this time since I would have a pregnancy first and things would flow normally. After his birth, nothing happened. I was put on a round-the-clock pumping schedule and given a myriad of herbs and prescriptions that would "increase my supply". After a month, I was still producing less than an ounce a day, despite pumping 8 times a day. I was so happy to have both my children, but the effects of not being able to nurse were heartbreaking. It was the thing on which I felt like I most missed out with my first child and it was so important to me to get to do it with my 2nd. I felt like a failure and fell back into the pain that had haunted me throughout my infertility struggle; that I was a failure because my body couldn't do the most basic and crucial functions that it was made to do. When I returned the pump to the hospital, the woman at the desk looked me up and down and said, "I hope you plan to continue breastfeeding. You know how important it is." Needless to say I left fighting back tears. I'm able to put things in perspective now and know that my great ability as a mom, not my inability to breastfeed my kids, is what matters. When other moms give me the evil eye for daring to formula feed my son, I don't let it bother me anymore. They have NO idea what I went through to have my two blessings and, frankly, it's none of their business.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your journey. How amazing the miracles you have are. I am so sorry you were giving such horrible reactions on both occasions. We do what we can and that is all anyone can ask. Hugs to you!!!!! ~Mummie

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    2. BuckeyeSara1982@aol.comJanuary 24, 2013 at 3:54 PM

      Thanks Jacky. I think breastfeeding is definitely worth the effort for those who are able and I'm so glad there are women like you out there to offer support and instruction for those who need it!

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  3. Amen!! I chose to breastfeed, but I have friends and family who did not, and I can tell you they ALL love their babies. And in the end, that is the most important thing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  4. Can't begin to tell you how much I appreciate this post. Excellent, and so needed. Thanks you for being a true advocate for ALL mothers.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and reading. I get so frustrated when I hear breastfeeding "advocates" give off a negative vibe and make non breastfeeding moms feel guilty, for what ever reason. I want all moms out there to know that not all breastfeeding advocates are the same. Thank YOU for giving moms a place to go to for help and support. ~Mummie

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