Breastfeeding is one of nature's greatest gifts. Between being the most frugal way to feed a newborn, it comes equipped with antibodies and gives mother and baby a chance to bond in a more intimate way. However, breastfeeding doesn't come easily to all of us, myself included, and I'm really tired of all the mom-shaming. I've heard some of the cruelest things anyone could say to a mom using formula from people I thought understood the circumstances. Honestly, between breast or bottle, does it even matter? As long as a mother is caring for her baby the best she's able, I don't see what the big deal is.
When I had my first baby, I had all the plans to breastfeed. I read up on it, studied what to do and how, and sought advice from seasoned mothers whenever possible. I was excited for the opportunity to do something only my baby and I would share. What I hadn't anticipated was how hard it would be. Not only did my baby not want to latch, my milk didn't come as expected and my postpartum depression (PPD) triggered bouts of anxiety I couldn't escape. All the stress of trying to breastfeed didn't help my baby and I bond but, in fact, it kept us from bonding. I hated every second of it. Every. Second.
Even after meeting with a lactation consultant, I couldn't get through a session without crying or having a panic attack. All this made my baby fussy and, honestly, it wasn't worth it. I didn't want to make her miserable while my hormones took over. Some mothers go through much of the same and are able to get through it, but I wasn't one of them. Once my mental health deteriorated to a dangerous degree, it was clear we had to go to formula to preserve any chance at me bonding with my baby before it was too late.
Because of this, people feel it their need to say whatever they feel like saying about my personal decision to feed my baby formula. As if they know what I was going through, or how much I mourned giving up this dream of breastfeeding. It wasn't an easy decision, but a necessary one and, yes, I feel like I've failed a little bit as my baby's mother already. So hearing things spewed for my feeding choices certainly didn't (and still don't) help. Some of the things anyone could say to a formula-feeding mother can be cruel. This is exactly why I skipped over all this stress with my son and went straight to the bottle. It's all too much pressure. Can't we all stop the judgements and just praise one another for rocking motherhood the best way we know how? Please and thank you.