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

GIPHY

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

GIPHY

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

GIPHY

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

GIPHY

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

GIPHY

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

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

13 Unique (& Totally Not Mainstream) Mother's Day Gifts For The Hipster Mom

Hipsters thrive on being outside the norm and not really digging anything considered "mainstream." Whether it's in their fashion, what music they listen to, the books they read, or how they enjoy beverages, there's just something that makes them dist…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}