Courtesy of Danielle Campoamor

9 Reasons Why You Should Never Judge A Woman Who Feeds Her Baby Formula

Ad failed to load

While there are plenty of women who have experienced judgement for openly and unapologetically breastfeeding their kids, there are just as many (eh, arguably even more) women who have been judged and shamed for formula feeding their kids. It seems that, even in this year and at this point where it feels like we all know we're supposed to respect everyone's right to make different-but-equally-valid choices, if you're a mother feeding her baby by any means at all, you're doing something wrong.

Mothers who formula feed their babies are all-too-often shunned by other mothers who feel like if you don't feed your baby from your body, you're a selfish quitter. Even though a woman should never apologize for formula feeding her baby, numerous women are made to feel like they have to explain themselves and the parenting choices they make. Formula feeding moms are made to feel guilty because they didn't make a choice that other mothers have proudly made; a dangerous consequence of all parents just wanting to feel validated and supported in their personal parenting decisions. Moms who formula feed hear horrific, rude and honestly, untrue, things about formula and their choice to feed it to their kids. Everything from "you're poisoning your baby" to "you can't bond with your child," and for what? So mothers can continue to beat themselves up and feel guilty and become ostracized from a community that would benefit them, if it was just more inclusive?

Well, enough is enough. The truth is, there are multiple ways to feed a baby, and there are multiple reasons why a mother might choose to use formula instead of breast milk. All of these choices are valid, and all of these choices are something to stop and think about, before anyone even contemplates shaming a woman for not breastfeeding.

Ad failed to load

So with that in mind, here are nine reasons why you should never judge a woman for formula feeding her kid.

Ad failed to load

Her Baby Could Have Self-Weaned


While self-weaning generally doesn't occur before a baby is a year old, there are multiple reasons why a baby may choose to stop breastfeeding. If a baby is being offered other sources of nutrients (food, a bottle, milk, etc.), they may like those tastes better and refuse to breastfeed. Babies also start to be aware of their surroundings, so if a mother inadvertently yells or is shocked when a teething baby bites down during breastfeeding, the baby can take it as an indication that he or she is doing something wrong, and not want to do it anymore.

Many mothers also confuse a nursing strike for self-weaning, which can lead the mom to believe that she needs to stop breastfeeding and provide alternative methods of feeding.

She Could Be Suffering From Health Complications

There are numerous health complications that could keep a woman from being able to successfully breastfeed. Whether a woman is suffering from a long-term disease (either HIV, or HTLV-1 - a virus that can be contracted through breast milk) or has had breast augmentation, a breast reduction and/or has battled breast cancer, it's impossible to assess someone's health (and honestly, you don't need to; it's not your job) by simply looking at them. You have no idea what a woman is battling with — health or otherwise — that could keep her body from breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding Might Have Been Painful For Her


There are numerous breastfeeding complications that can not only cause a woman extreme pain, but can cause a woman to stop breastfeeding. Everything from clogged milk ducts to fungal infections to Mastitis (a breast infection) to sore nipples, can create problems for any breastfeeding mother. While these complications are considered "common," it doesn't make them any less painful. If a woman want's to save herself from months of pain, she should be able to without question or judgement.

Ad failed to load

Her Baby Could Have Been Born Prematurely

Many premature babies are unable to breastfeed, and won't be able to until they gain weight and/or are released from the hospital. While many hospitals try to keep the ability to breastfeed on the table — by asking the mom to pump and feeding the baby breast milk through a tube and/or bottle — many babies become accustomed to a bottle, and won't take their mother's breast when they're finally able to.

This, as you can imagine, is devastating for many mothers who had planned to breastfeed and were looking forward to breastfeeding, but couldn't because their baby or babies came early.

She Could Be A Sexual Assault Survivor


There are numerous studies on the impact sexual assault has on parenting, especially motherhood and the postpartum decisions a mother might make. Many trauma survivors do not feel comfortable breastfeeding, and forcing a woman to breastfeed when it triggers past horrific memories, is nothing more than another form of sexual assault. Of course, there are many women who have survived sexual assault, and can still breastfeed and/or choose to breastfeed (and in some cases, were aided in dealing with their trauma via breastfeeding) but others do not, and forcing any woman to do anything with her body that she doesn't want to do or feel safe doing, is just wrong.

Her Body Might Not Have Produced Enough Milk

Some women are unable to produce enough milk for their babies. There are numerous contributing factors, such as an insufficient glandular tissue or hormonal abnormalities or a previous breast surgery, that can keep a mom from giving her baby everything he or she needs, on her own. In these instances, when a mother simply cannot sustain her child on her own, it would be nothing short of cruel to not turn to formula.

Ad failed to load

Her Baby Might Have Been Adopted


If a woman adopted her baby, then she didn't go through the stages of pregnancy that prepared the body for breastfeeding. Simply put, for most women (although, not all) breastfeeding after adoption isn't really an option.

She Might Not Have Adequate Support Or Help

Breastfeeding requires support, especially when mothers are living in a culture that condones breastfeeding in public. If a mother has been raised in an environment (or is currently living in one) that shames women for breastfeeding, or shames their bodies in general, she might not feel comfortable or supported in her decision to breastfeed. If she can't afford a pump to keep her milk supply up, or to give her baby breast milk while she is at work, then formula might be her only option. There are multiple factors — emotional, physical and financial — that would make breastfeeding almost impossible.

Or...She Just Chose Not To Breastfeed


Her body, her choice. That's literally it. If a woman chooses not to breastfeed, then she chooses not to breastfeed, and she has the right to do so without another person's judgement. She really doesn't even need a reason, and no matter what her reasons might be, she isn't obligated to share them or justify them to anyone. No woman, mother or not, should be shamed for the choices she makes with her body. Women deserve ownership over their person and, make no mistake, that includes a woman's choice to breastfeed or not.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

6 Early Signs You're Going To Have A Short Labor, According To Experts

As far as I'm concerned, a short labor is right up there with winning the lottery in terms of lucky life events. (And when I was actually in labor, I would absolutely have traded a bucketful of lottery winnings for a speedier birth.) While some women…
By Kelly Mullen-McWilliams

Kids Will Love These TV Shows & Movies Coming To Netflix In March

You can always count on Netflix to keep it fresh: though there are already so many movies and shows to choose from, every month there's an influx of new content to keep your entire family entertained. As February enters its final weeks, it's time to …
By Megan Walsh

Here Are 10 Ways To Boost Your Baby's Immunity To The Flu

As I'm sure you've read in the thousands upon thousands of articles written about it this winter, the flu is spreading like wildfire and it's bad. Really bad. This strand of flu is the worst we've had in a very long time and it's the most widespread,…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Khloé Kardashian Asked Twitter About Her Bump, & Moms Totally Delivered

Like her younger sister Kylie Jenner, Khloé Kardashian managed to keep most of her pregnancy a sort-of secret. But unlike Jenner, Kardashian chose to publicly announce her pregnancy several months before the baby's due date. While there's no wrong wa…
By Sophie Hirsh

21 Moms Share The Most Surprising Part About Having A C-Section

Honestly, I don't think we, as a culture, talk about C-sections nearly enough, especially considering so many mothers experience them. And because of a number of factors, the little we do talk about it always seems to be a familiar narrative: "It's n…
By Jamie Kenney

13 Yummy Instant Pot Recipes To Make Under 30 Minutes

An Instant Pot seems to be the must-have appliance in every kitchen these days. If you are anything like me and never knew the beauty of a Instant Pot, you are about to have your life changed. Basically, you put some ingredients into a pot, set the t…
By Kristin Manna

9 Things The First Six Months Of Motherhood Will Teach You About Your Baby

Personally, the first six months of motherhood was a mixed bag. I learned some harsh lessons about myself that made taking care of my baby seem overwhelming. For example, I was clueless, and no amount of research could help me feel like anything but …
By Steph Montgomery

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack