I am so tired of the raging debate between mothers who breastfeed and those who bottle feed. Here’s why:
- Moms who bottle feed look down their noses when a mom who breastfeeds whips out her breast in the middle of Target to nurse her baby (ostensibly she has some sort of nursing cover and is not running around hanging out in the wind). Bottle fed moms, get off your high horse. Stop whispering your disbelief at the nerve of the mom to bare her breast in public. We all have breasts. Sure, they look different, but only here in Puritanical America do people have such a weird fascination with keeping them covered. Aside from that little fact, it’s not like you as a bottle feeding mom would hesitate to whip out your powdered mix and bottled water to whip up a batch of formula for a crying baby. Hello, no, you wouldn’t. You’d take care of business and feed that baby. A breast fed mom is doing the exact same thing in the same time and space you are – providing food for her hungry baby. Not only that, but many bottle fed moms don’t wean their kids from the bottle until they are somewhere around 2. Yet moms who breastfeed often start hiding the fact that they are still breastfeeding because it’s considered “odd” after the first year or so. Bottle feeding moms, you don’t get to sensationalize this entire experience into something sick and bizarre. It’s one of the most natural things our bodies do and the length of time it’s done for varies just like bottle fed babies.
- Moms who breast feed look down their noses on moms who bottle feed by stating it’s the “easy way out” and state their babies are healthier and closer to their moms than bottle fed babies. Although antibodies aren’t passed on in formula, I’ve been around enough kids to know that breast fed babies bring home the same ailments from daycare that bottle fed babies do. I have mentioned I have 4 kids, right? 3 who are in the public school system and 1 who is still in daycare. So, I’ve got some insight into this particular issue. I also find it interesting that statistics state there are less absences from work with breastfeeding moms. As someone who has done HR for a number of years, moms who breastfeed and are back at work are pumping and bottle feeding. According to womenshealth.gov, in order to reap the benefits of reducing infant illnesses, statistics show the babies have to be exclusively breastfed for at least 6 months. That cuts out working moms because moms who wholly breastfeed can’t come back to a regular 8 to 5 job because they can’t bring the baby with them so clearly the statistics are skewed. As far as making claims that baby is closer to a mom who breastfeeds? This whole premise makes moms who would like to breastfeed but can’t, or moms who adopted, feel bad or lacking, like they are less of a mom because the food the baby ingests doesn’t come from their body. Enough already with making moms who bottle feed feel bad. Moms who breastfeed are not superior just for that fact alone.
- Both sides, stop assuming that the way a baby is fed is made by choice. Sometimes it is. But many times it isn’t. There are economical factors, physiological factors, and biological factors that motivate moms everywhere into the mode of feeding they choose. I’ve been in Human Resources for a lot of years and counseled a lot of expectant moms on my own experiences. Plus, I’ve been in the position to be there when moms need a place to pump when they come back. What I’ve found is that some moms would love not to nurse but they can’t afford the “good” formula at $26.00 a can. And, there are some moms who would love to nurse but simply can’t get the baby to latch. There are some moms who are blessed to adopt a newborn baby and who don’t lactate because they were never pregnant. And there are some moms who want to breastfeed and everything goes perfectly with latching and milk production and get to do exactly as they please. Lastly, there are some moms who are career-minded or are extra careful with their body and make the decision early on to bottle feed because they are returning to work or don’t want their breasts stretched out. All of these motivations for feeding methods are valid – but how many are really choices per se? Stop treating each side as though they are the enemy and realize that the motivations behind what they’ve decided are personal and should be respected no matter what. After all, aren’t you asking us to respect your motivation for your method of feeding?
The bottom line is, we are all in a true sisterhood that derives from being moms. As moms, we love our babies and want what is best for them. We should be rejoicing with other moms that we’ve been able to have them in the first place, not tearing each other down on how the babies are fed. Life as a mom is demanding and hard. Why make someone feel bad about how they feed their baby? Instead of commenting on the fact that they took “the easy way out” when you see a mom stopping to prepare a bottle; or deriding the fact that a mom is continuing to shop while attempting to put on a nursing cover and NOT flash anyone her one-of-a-kind breast – why not stop and offer assistance. Wouldn’t that be an awesome change? I can’t count the number of times when I had to make a solo run to the store to pick up formula or diapers or wipes or some item and in the middle of my trip had to feed my hungry baby while making sure my other children didn’t escape off somewhere else, and while simultaneously trying to pacify my hungry baby so he or she didn’t scream the entire store down and thereby irritate other patrons. I probably would have wept in relief if another mom had offered a hand getting out a nursing cover from my bag or offered to dig around my bag for my prepackaged formula container while I juggled my angry baby. If you’re a mom, this scenario, or something like it, has happened to you. And no matter what feeding method is occurring, you can’t help but panic. So I say, join the sisterhood of moms and offer a fellow mother a hand. Help bring someone up instead of tearing them down. After all – as a 38 year old woman who dearly loves her mother – the last thing I care about is whether I was breast or bottle fed. I just care about the fact that my mother loved me the best way she knew how.