Google “detriments of formula feeding a baby” and your search will yield tons of information about the benefits of breastfeeding. What you will not find are articles or sites that report the harmful effects of formula. Instead, links will urge you to breastfeed your baby and basically in a few words or a short blurb, tell you that you are a horrible mom if you don’t.
You know who is a horrible mom? A woman who smokes a pack of cigarettes a day while she’s six months pregnant or a woman who downs vodka in her first trimester. A woman who decides to feed her baby formula instead of breastfeeding is not horrible. And she doesn’t need to hide behind an excuse or horrible diagnosis to admit that she is not breastfeeding.
Last week I was horrified to read the story of a woman who suffered from a breast disfigurement and could not breastfeed as a result. No, I was not horrified because she has a rare affliction that affects the appearance and functionality of her breasts, nor was I horrified that she was unable to nurse her baby. I was horrified because she felt the need to justify why she couldn’t breastfeed by explaining her awful medical condition.
I’m not going to say that I’m on a medication that prevents me from nursing. I didn’t try to breastfeed for months before I gave up. Nope. I fed my two daughters baby formula because I didn’t want to breastfeed. Gasp! How could I say such a thing? Should I be flogged in a public square with breast pumps and empty baby formula tins? Admit it; you’re considering this.
Hold on, put down your pitch forks for a moment while I share my point of view. I have no problem with moms who breastfeed. It’s healthy, it’s natural, it’s great! But it isn’t for me. I find the idea of a baby suckling on my breast really unnatural actually. I don’t like the feeling, the sound, the experience or anything about it. That’s it; I don’t have a major sob story or harrowing tale that proves I am still a valid human being even though I formula fed my babies. I’m just a mom who made a different choice.
And guess what? My daughters are not pale, putrid specimens who slink along the hallways of our home like Children of the Corn. They are thriving, healthy, happy, ebullient children who have not been sick more than any of their breastfed peers and who actually like me. Imagine that! They are still bonded to their mother even though I committed the “crime” of bottle feeding them. In fact, I haven’t gone to the bathroom alone in four years we are so bonded. My children cry when I leave the room sometimes. I think we are still connected.
Once again for the record, I must state that I have no problem with moms who breastfeed. It’s fantastic…it’s just not my thing. And I am here to say that my decision to bottle feed my babies does not preclude me from being as good of a mom as anyone else.
I am also not disputing the benefits of breastfeeding; I am simply saying that all you nursing mamas out there shouldn’t vote to send me off to a desert island of crappy moms just because I chose to feed my babies formula. It isn’t child abuse, people even though I know some of you believe that.
I’ll just leave you with these images: pageant moms who push their kids on stage in full makeup and inappropriate attire breastfed; moms who work 14 hours a day and never see their kid breastfed; moms who belittle their kids breastfed; moms who feed their kids nothing but McDonald’s breastfed. Breastfeeding alone doesn’t make you a good mom. Okay, now feel free to bash me until you feel better about what a great mom you are.