Breast or Bottle, Moms Unite
Breast or bottle, I remain hopeful that we’ll let the love we have for our babies unite us, not divide us! I truly believe that deep down most of us love our children with a love as fierce as a lion protecting her cubs.
We conceive by traditional and non-traditional methods, adopt, and utilize surrogacy. You don’t hear much judgement or shaming over these topics at all.
Why then so much division between mothers on the topic of breast or bottle?
Feeding our babies is a very personal journey. The judgement needs to stop! I wonder if we had the ability to see what other women are using during their monthly cycle (i.e.; pad, tampon, cloth, or menstrual cup) if we would comment about what’s best in that regard? No, most of us would not (insert side eye here).
Why then so much judgement for the way a woman nourishes her baby?
As humans we’re diverse creatures, we face challenges. As mothers we face many choices and difficulties we never thought we’d face. We come to a crossroad and have to think quickly on our feet.
Here is a super short list of some of the challenges and choices we face as pregnant and new mothers;
- Conceiving a Baby
- Vaginal or Cesarean
- Medicated or Unmediated
- HELLP Syndrome
- Hyperemesis Gravidarum
- Plugged Ducts and Mastitis
- Breastfeeding Aversions
- Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex or D-MER
- Cloth or Disposables Diapers
- Sleeping Arrangements
- Vaccinate on Schedule, Delay, or Decline
- Circumcision or Intact
- Tongue & Lip Ties
- Food Allergies
- Potty Training
- When to Introduce Solids
- Which Formula & Bottles
Isn’t that enough?
No matter where we stand on the subject or how sure or unsure we are of our choice, isn’t it enough that we’re making a decision from a place of love? Some people want deeply to breastfeed while some want deeply to enjoy bottle feeding. Sometimes what the world sees is a person’s first choice, others times it’s not at all. Perhaps their decision was a hard one.
We don’t see the whole picture on the outside looking in.
There are moms who isolated themselves from others because they’re afraid people will say they “gave up” on feeding their baby the “best”, or for fear others will comment negatively on her using her breast to nourish and comfort her baby.
As a postpartum doula I’ve witnessed firsthand what happens when people pass judgement, but even as an experienced mother I didn’t see it.
Do you know what the words, “you’re doing a great job”, can mean to a mother?
As women we already tend to put expectations on ourselves. We have these ideas of how it will be or how we want it to go and when things don’t go as planned we can feel pressure to continue while other times we are okay with shifting gears and changing direction. The pressure can be overwhelming.
A mother’s mental and physical needs need to come first. You can’t serve from an empty cup. What women need is support and encouragement along their journey to find the right fit for them and their families, not unsolicited advice, shaming, or judgment from anyone.
Why then so much pressure, judgement, and shame?
Many people think if they rave about how great breastfeeding is you’ll give up the idea of bottle feeding. Others think maybe they can save you from “suffering” through the woes of learning your baby and breastfeeding. New moms need others to listen.
New mothers benefit greatly from words of encouragement. Saying things like, “you’re doing great despite opposition”, asking “what can I do for you right now” and “what do you feel is best” are great ways to say supportive things!
Breast is not always best. Can we please stop with that crap already!
Women choose to feed their babies in different ways for many different reasons. Some simply prefer one over the other, that’s their choice. Some reasons may be much deeper than what meets the eye. Sometimes women share their reasons and sometimes they don’t, that’s okay too.