Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Breast Feeding and Formula Feeding... Why so heated?

Well, answer me why? I wish I knew. I am an advocate for Formula Feeding...so of course I am going to blog about my experiences from this POV. I never wanted to BF (this will stand for Breastfeeding and FF for Formula feeding) tried 2 times with my first born (due to pressure) and decided to FF. I KNEW this was right for me, I didn't get to the ripe old age of 36 not knowing what I wanted to do, or what would work for myself and my hubby. I am a decisive person, usually not easily influenced by anyone... but the pressure is so heavy towards BF, that I caved. I felt hounded, resentful and I felt like I was being judged... because I was. I got looks, I got comments when I bought formula... the lack of manners and kindness was appalling. I was a new mother, struggling with PPD (and didn't realize it) no sleep, and the uncertainty of having a new baby was overwhelming, even though I have the most helpful and accommodating husband around. I felt bad enough without other mothers putting me and my choices down.

Lets face it, there are SOME BF mothers that give off and have this attitude that they are better mothers for having BF. (I am aware of a BF forum that has bashed FF moms and said "No matter what those FF moms say, they are not bonded to their babies like WE are" Um... excuse my language but that's Bull Shit. How would they know how other moms bond? How can they be inside the heart and soul of FF mothers (or any other mothers for that matter) and "know" this is true. Its sad, and immature. I love my children with an intensity and love that I never dreamed of feeling... how could anyone feel "more" love. Its simply ridiculous. And yes, Ive heard all the benefits of BF (although the immunity thing, and baby being less sick I never understood... my babies were rarely ill, and all the while I saw many BF women's babies get illness after illness... I came to the conclusion that we are just pre-disposed to getting sick more than others), and I made an educated desision about it, and I did what was right for myself, my family and my baby.

I also find it sad that women who cannot BF, or had a hard time with BF, feel the need to explain their choices, to explain why they couldn't or didn't BF, its like you have to have a good excuse or the extreme advocates will tell you why you should have tried harder and why you made the wrong choice and why you needed to work it through... as mothers lets STOP defending every choice we make... as long as we don't hurt our babies (and no matter how many studies that are made none have shown a baby will perish or be an imbecile because of FF) Lets just be happy and be strong in our convictions and stop wanting or needing the approval of others to do what we feel is right for us.

Of course many BF and FF mothers do not bash the other side, but the ones that do are contributing to making the gap between the two sides so much wider. Out the window the compassion, the understanding, the kindness go...to be replaced with superiority, smirks, and judgement.

I know many, many BF advocates... they are kind, decent women. This post is about the ones who are not. And maybe, just maybe some of the other BF women will realize how WE are judged, how we are treated unkindly and maybe, just maybe mothers, all mother BF, FF or whatever... will start worrying about their own choices and stop worrying about someone elses and the choices they made for themselves and their family.

This is not meant to bash, this is meant to show how we FF are treated... you hear so much about BF mothers, how they are treated, how they are discriminated against, and I think its wrong... but here is another side of the story, and here is what many mothers may feel, but are too afraid to say. Because FF moms have the same issues, we face discrimination, censure and unkindness as well. Just because we don't talk about it, doesn't mean it doesn't happen. I wish it would stop from both sides... how can we as a nation, a world get along if we continually refuse to see or tolerate anothers POV or choices?


Toni said...

Great post Mimi. Like you commented on my bf post at Momdot it's all about preference. I don't know why people continually bash the others choice I would get so pissed at the horrible looks I got as well, it's a no win situation I guess with some people. We all just have to be happy in the fact that we know what we did is right for us and our children and let the rest of the world fight. I puffy heart you. Oh and to answer your question LOL I think it gets heated b/c everyone thinks there decision is the right one LOL

Keb-o-Mania said...

That is so true. Love is love. Bonding is bonding. And if someone can't say anything nice then pieholes should remain shut!

Kris said...

What a wonderful post Mimi.

I don't know if you read mine or not. But I'll say this. I've been on both ends of the spectrum.

Except both times I wanted to BF (not because I feel superior). My oldest daughter was born via emergency c-section and I did not get to see her for over 8 hours after birth. During that time the nursery gave her bottles and pacifiers and by the time I got her, she didn't want a thing to do with nursing. So I pumped and I went to LC's and the LLL and tried everything to get her to BF. She wouldn't, so we went to FF after a while.

I don't feel any less bonded to her as I do the baby (who is BF)

Denise said...

I LOVE this post! I am a FF feeding mother. I started out breastfeeding but when DD started bleeding internally from having an intolerance to milk and soy protein (MSPI) in my breastmilk we had no choice BUT to put her on formula for about a month. During that month, if I wanted to continue breastfeeding (which, like you, I felt the pressure of HAVING to breastfeed or I was a horrible mom) I would have had to cut EVERYTHING out of my diet. I would only be allowed 7 types of food with absolutely no seasoning. It was a hard decision and one I didn't take lightly but it was the RIGHT decision. My DD is the happiest healthy baby out there and I am glad I decided to keep her on formula.

I too have run into to the boobie-ra-ra's out there and have had the "look" and the comments and such and it sucks.

I bought DD a shirt that ways "My mom doesn't want your advice" and she is wearing it to the next birthday party we go to because the last one was *that* bad!

Thanks for this post! Sorry for the novel - but I am passionate about this issue! :)

Andrea said...

I agree that FF or bottle feeding can be bonding just as well as BF. I was on both ends with my son and I know that I felt the same love when I looked down at him whether he was drinking from bottle or breast. I think until you feed a baby a bottle of formula or breastmilk, you cannot know how it feels.

Kelly said...

Yay Mimi! As you know, I am a formula feeder.

I don't understand why we as mothers, can't respect the other person's view.

That goes for BOTH forumla feeders and breastfeeders. I don't think you should be made to feel bad because you don't want to or can't breast feed. On the flip side, when I see a mother breastfeeding her baby, I smile at her. I think if you can and want to breastfeed its wonderful!

Hey as long as you are FEEDING your baby...I don't care how you do it!

Karen of Sillymonkeez said...

I have tried to BF all my children at first. I had to stop with my oldest because I had to go on a medication that would get passed through the breast milk. I tried with the twins too, but my supply dwindled because they were in the NICU for almost 6 weeks. I won't pass judgement on people because there's too many factors to consider . . . personal preference, being a working mom or a SAHM, etc . . .

Karen of the MomDot Street Team

Lilith Silvermane said...

I have no idea how that gets so heated. It's almost as bad as the religion or the politics topic. Or .... abortion.. it's not like either side is "Hurting" their child, they are doing what they feel best, as parents!

Wow... I've had six kids, and I've done both... I think people should get over it and do what makes them happy!