I wrote this article originally in October 2019 while feeding my son. For national breastfeeding week this year, I wanted to remind my local mom community, that even with the current weight of the world, Fed is best.
If you cannot breastfeed for WHATEVER reason, there are still millions of moms who will support you. You are the best mom for your kiddo, with or without the ability to breastfeed.
First of all, Everyone who breastfeeds is amazing in every way, don’t get me wrong, but I’m here to say that I believe FED IS BEST.
Almost three years ago now I was pregnant with my first child. I would daydream about those “bonding beautiful breastfeeding moments” that mothers would always talk about. I would think about the magical time ahead where I would feed my new baby. Unfortunately life had other plans for me. My body physically couldn’t breastfeed. I went to the doctor several times, pumped and tried to feed like crazy. I tried absolutely everything and anything to breastfeed. After an exhausting 6 weeks of trying and trying. I laid awake crying, realizing that clearly my body wasn’t having it.
I felt defeated.
I felt like maybe I wasn’t meant to be a mother. I kept thinking “if I can’t feed my baby, which is what I am supposed to be able to do, maybe I wasn’t meant to be a mom”. It was an exhausting and depressing time, with lots of emotions. It took me a long time to realize that I’m still a good mother even though I couldn’t feed her with my body.
Fast forward, to my second baby. I spent months wondering if I would be able to breastfeed again, and wondering if I would be able to handle it mentally if I couldn’t. The first time, it took me SO long to move on and accept that I couldn’t feed my baby.
Would I be able to do it again?
So I made the decision to not even try, which I will say I’ve received a LOT of backlash for. I think at least 2-3 times a week, someone tells me I should’ve tried, and says “Don’t you regret not even trying?”. The answer is no, I don’t, I bottle feed my baby happily. The nurse in the hospital asked me several times if I was SURE I didn’t want to try, and I’ve never felt more judged in my life. This time around, I didn’t go through the small depression of not being able to feed my child, and I’m very happy with my decision. My baby got a very happy and healthy mom, and I got a happy and healthy baby. Frankly, I don’t understand why people feel the need to voice their opinion on how my baby is fed.
The moral of my story is this, sometimes someone decides to bottle feed, and sometimes they don’t have a choice. I see posts all the time about the bravery of women breastfeeding in public, and nurturing their child. I’m all for it, but I think it is also important to be conscious that sometimes someone is silently struggling with not being able to breastfeed, so think before you criticize them for giving a bottle.
Why can’t we all just support one another no matter what decisions they make?
Over the past 2.5 years, I’ve watched the way society and the public reacts to both breastfeeding and bottle feeding, and I’ve found that people are flat out mean to both. I’ve pulled out a bottle in public and had a group of moms whisper to each other that they “can’t believe I won’t breastfeed in public” and say that I’m “giving into society’s beliefs”. I’ve watched women breastfeed and heard people say “wow, she should really do that somewhere else”. I’ve had “friends” make fun of me for owning and using a breastfeeding cover when I “don’t even breastfeed”.
I’m all about women supporting women. I truly believe that you don’t know what is going on in another’s life. Everyone is silently struggling with something. I think the only way to make it through life, is to assume at all times that everyone is doing THEIR best.
So my babies are both bottle-fed and feelin’ fine. They are happy and healthy, and they are two of the best parts of my life. I support you breastfeeding however and wherever you want. You should be able to support me giving my child a bottle wherever I want.