Justifications for Formula

Kim - posted on 07/16/2010 ( 57 moms have responded )

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I'm just looking for peoples opinions. I EBF my 2 month daughter and would not have it any other way and I plan doing so for a year.

I have been encountering people left, right and center who constantly tell me why they formula fed their children, or why there are valid reasons to use formula- last night I heard "some women just have sour milk", or my mother in law always tells me "I'm just far too modest to whip it out in front of anyone". ect... completely unsolicited- I'll just be sitting there nursing not talking when they start, or asked if I BF or formula feed. I do believe that it is a personal choice, but if people start in on me, I do not hesitate to say that I believe that formula does more harm that good in our society.

I completely get people bringing this up had I started in on how wonderful BF is or my views on formula.. but it almost seems as though people want to make me feel bad for BF, or to congratulate them for formula feeding.

Do you think people are doing this out of curiosity? Guilt for not BF their kids? Or just nosey? I'm really puzzled by these reactions and did not expect it at all. Is this a common reaction that you encounter?

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Merry - posted on 07/23/2010

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http://www.llli.org/docs/Outcomes_of_bre...
this is a seriously long article about the effects of breastfeeding vs formula feeding. It is detailed studies and descriptions of how the studies were done. There is a lot of info here but I challenge anyone to read some of it and still think that formula is just a personal decision. there is serious weight on the decision of how to feed your baby and there can be life threatening outcomes. The fact is that every mom should have free will, but every mom should understand how inferior formula really is. Just read a bit and you will see how this article opened my eyes so much more. And yes I believe a Dr could tell a breastfed adult from a formula fed adult easily.

[deleted account]

I don't get it either...why come up to me in public especially if you don't even know me and tell me that I need to go somewhere private. I'm really outspoken and when people tell me (even friends) that breastfeeding is offensive I let them know that their bottle is just as offensive to me. I understand if there are medical problems that prohibit you from being able to breastfeed, but I believe they are few and far between. Breast were designed to feed and sure if daddy wants to have a little fun with them too that's great. I was more than happy to show a little cleavage when they were perky enough to do so :) BUT that is not the only reason that I have them now and my children will be better for it in the long run in my opinion. I think a lot of parents today expect the baby to adjust to their routine while I take the more laid back approach of allowing all of us to adjust to each other. So I don't get as much sleep or so I have to nurse at the store...I have more than once grabbed a screaming toddler off the floor of a store and nursed while we were walking around. The screaming caught stares, but the quiet baby cradled in my arms did not. I am proud to be able to make these situations better for my children instead of having to fight over whatever their meltdown was about. I am puzzled too and will never understand why other moms feel the need to push their beliefs on me about how to feed/raise my children. I certainly don't go up to moms and tell them the many benefits of breastfeeding and all the harmful effects of formula unsolicited. Don't feel bad and keep it up! Congrats on the choice to EBF. I was not a believer until I had toddlers that magically settled down and relaxed all because I had a boob. I planned on only BF'ing for a year or so, but am now proud to say I will nurse as long as my child needs it.

Courtney - posted on 07/25/2010

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regarding Laura Hoffman's link re breast v bottle...this is awesome!! I think every Mother considering bottle-feeding should read it and then decide what they should be putting into their babies.
The info is based wholly on mass scientific data and I'm pro-breast the whole way but some of the findings surprised me and I've had 4 children over 11 years.
There really should be more info regarding the side-effects of formula feeding and less promotion of formula as being a damn healthy substitute.
Its a shame that breast-feeding is so under-rated in this first-world country.

April - posted on 07/24/2010

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no one really likes to hear the truth. moms don't want to know that formula actually does more harm than good. they only believe what they want to believe, so that life with kids is easier on them. sorry to offend anyone, it is only my opinion!

Sarah - posted on 07/20/2010

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I'm a formula feeding mom, but I'm on this breastfeeding group so I can learn as much about breastfeeding as possible when I decide to have a second child. I breastfed/supplemented with formula up until my son was 8 weeks old & then went exclusively to formula.



With my son (who is now 10 months old), I was very misinformed & uneducated about breastfeeding. I thought I knew what I was doing, but then I realized that I didn't. I was stubborn & didn't seek out the help that I really needed. I wanted to breastfeed SOOO badly, but by the time I realized I needed help, I felt like it was too late and I gave up too soon.



I joined this group not too long after I started formula feeding & I have learned A TON from you guys. But, at the same time, I became VERY defensive when I would see some BF moms talk about how lazy & selfish formula feeding moms are & how we are giving our children poison. These comments REALLY hurt me. But now that my son is 10 months old, I have gotten past the fact that I no longer BF him & I don't feel quite as defensive as I used to. My best friend has a 4 month old son & has been EBF him. I am VERY supportive of her & her decision to do so & I'm very glad that it has worked out for her. I just hope I can be more successful when I decide to have a second child. :)

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K - posted on 10/24/2011

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I think there is probably more criticism towards breast feeders because there are so many more bottle feeders out there to be able to criticize. It probably is their guilt for not giving it a better go,or not being tough enough to handle the pain,or they feel that breast feeders are smug or proud of themselves and the bottle feeders don't like that and want to make the breast feeder feel bad. Unfortunately that is just human nature to want to bring other people down with you !!! Its like for example...my sister has 3 boys..I have a boy age 11 and a girl age 7 months. My sister constantly goes on about how much she "can't stand " girls and would never ever want one ...and that the age gap i have between mine is soooo detrimental to them.(hers are 2 years apart and badly behaved). I have to assume its a jealousy thing or a way to make herself feel better(by trying to make me feel bad). I think that's what bottle feeders do...make excuses and put breast feeders down cause they didn't make it work for themselves. I have thought a lot about this topic and that is the conclusion I have come to. Breast feeders on the other hand,have nothing to feel guilty about so I think if they put a bottle feeder down,it is simply because they are passionate about the benefits of it,are proud of themselves(as they should be) and are sometimes shocked at the selfishness of people who don't seem to acknowledge the massive disservice they are doing to their child(and the population in general) by bottle feeding them junk food in a can !!!

Teri-Lyn - posted on 07/23/2010

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ive fed both ways and there are pros and cons to each, my son flat out refused to BF so in his best interest i tried FF and it worked, my daughter now is the complete oppposite, she flat out refuses a bottle, if im no where around yes she'll take a pumped bottle but ive been told thats hard to get her to do even, i loved the freedom of FF but i love the bond of BF, i give extreme respect to all mothers for their decisions, i could have chosen to fight with my son and have him cry from hunger until he was forced to take to BF but i decided to do what was best for him and give him the formula so he'd eat. i could have fought with my daughter to take formula since thats what i was used to but i gave her what she wanted and it works. there is always some choice in it but all mothers deserve respect for doing the best they can.

Lea - posted on 07/23/2010

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if you see a mum feeding with a bottle, how do you know if its breast or formula???i bf for almost four months, then i needed to go back on medication so we are ff, my guilt is mine and hard to deal with.. no matter what you do people judge you before they bother to ask you.

Courtney - posted on 07/22/2010

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*updated*
I have 4 children all whom were breastfeed,and over the last 10 years I've read massive amounts about this subject and one thing I have noticed is women saying they don't have enough milk thats why they stopped.
Its actually quite uncommon for a women to not produce enough milk,babies go through stages where they will need less/more.Stages where everything else is so intriguing they forget to feed.I beleive one of the common mistakes so many mothers make is to try and feed to a time schedule.Thats why the notion of demand feeding is brilliant,if the infant want 3 feeds in an hour,let him and let him drink for a while so he received ''hind'' milk,thats the milk that has all the fat,the first bit is more watery to quench thirst.
Our society has created this issue,women's bodies are now viewed so sexually it makes us uncomftorable when we realise that nature intended our bodies to create and support life.

Courtney - posted on 07/22/2010

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I don't think it's a case of picking on the FF Mums but BF asserting their increased awareness at the health benefits of BF.
I am quite anti-formula,considering commercial formula has only been on the commercial market for 6o odd years,do we really know the long term effects it has on our childrens health? No,because every bit of info available on formula reinforces it's positives,what about the negatives? Why is childhood obesity,diabetes so prevalent now? we are what we eat and that begins at birth.
Human milk has live cultures ESSENTIAL to human babies,the process of infant development doesnt end when a baby is born,BF is an extremely crucial part of infant development,even the WHO recommends using formula as a last resort,even recommending using donated human milk for babies before formula and their recommendations are based onsolid scientific facts.
Ever wondered at the emergence of s many childhood issues ie.autism,adhd,there's a massive list.There is no direct link shown because the Corporations that market these formulas make BILLIONS! Woe betide should we start breastfeeding again,they'd go out of business!
The evidence is there as to how beneficial BF really is,Google it,educate yourselves.
I don't think there should be any argument as to what is best for our babies,human milk is for humans cows milk is for cows!

Jodi - posted on 07/22/2010

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Here's how I feel, like it or not! I support breastfeeding, my daughter is nearly 17 months and still nurses, I think everyone should give it a go! I think there is not enough information out there for new moms, old moms, teenagers, men women children and even doctors about breastfeeding, while formula is being crammed down everyone's throats.
I think too many moms quit breastfeeding due to misinformation and are left with feelings with inadequacy and guilt for no reason. I think FFing moms need to leave BF moms alone unless your offering support or looking for compasion because you wish you could have done it or continued doing it. I think BFing moms need to lay off the FFing moms, unless your offering support. I think women who get all defensive about it and go off on a rant on why you should BF and not FF and the evils of formula give is all a bad name and bad image and make it harder for us. I also think that FFing moms who go off on the self-righteousness of BFing moms give them a bad name as well.
Why does it matter? We each raise our kids how we want and it starts in pregnancy and we all have different views on every aspect of parenting, but we don't need to make each other feel bad for having a difference in opinion as long as we're not hurting our children.

Renee - posted on 07/22/2010

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I think there is a lack of information "out there" regarding BFing....Personally I would love to see more education on BFing, wether its for new mums, old mums, dads etc....

I am "all for" BFing! But that dosent mean I think poorly of mums that have FF, or glance sideways at them! Which I know some BFing mums do.....

Everyone has a right to do whats best for them and the baby weather that means FF or BF. As mothers we should offer support to one another and not critisize due to our choices.

It is hard enough being a parent, let alone " looking over our shoulder" to make sure that we "are doing it right".

Katie - posted on 07/22/2010

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I breastfeed for the first three months of my daughters life. We stopped because I was not producing enough and she didn't want to breastfeed any more. She was too curious about what was going on to do it. With that being said I have never thought it was not ok to breastfeed or to formula feed. We formula feed now. I would of however continued to breastfeed if I was able too. I think it is personal choice and don't look down on someone for doing one or the other.

Ashley - posted on 07/22/2010

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Ok here's my outlook. Has anyone ever seen breast milk get recalled???!!! Where I live, what I do is a rarity. My son is 21 months old and still bf. Most people here rarely make it past the first 6 weeks. As a matter of fact, the people at WIC kept trying to give me formula because they didnt believe me! People sometimes treat me differently because I breastfeed and act like I think I'm better than them (not true). I don't bash formula fed, I just chose a different path. To each their own I always say.

Francesca - posted on 07/22/2010

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This is a no win situation. I still breastfeed my 14 month old.

No matter whether you breastfeed or forumla feed, people will always have opinions. Whether that is your indecent for breastfeeding, or not good enough mother because of forumla. Both sides of the fence face the same type of opposition.

No matter what any mother decides, it was what was best for their family. And no one has the right to say otherwise.

Angie - posted on 07/22/2010

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you took he words right out my mouth... it i love doing both........ so what really the problem,...... if the kids FF or BFing... it don't make no different..as long the baby gettin their feeding and loving...

[deleted account]

I didn't encounter these reactions like you did. But right off I think I would attribute them to guilt. BF is not an easy thing to do. You are tied to the baby or a pump at least 50% of your waking moments (and some falling asleep moments as well). You probably do it b/c it's the best for your child. There are many reasons people find it easier overall to use formula. I definitely wanted to when I was tied down so often, but I couldn't get myself to because my reasoning was mostly selfish. I don't condemn mothers who have to or choose to formula feed, but I'm sure proud of those who BF. Be proud of it, too. You are doing what you think is best, and that's all you can do!

[deleted account]

i wish i could of bf i literaly had no milk and tryed for a week but my son lost so much weight nearly 2lb i had to ff :(

Kim - posted on 07/22/2010

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You have a very valid point with that Jennifer! :) Perhaps I should have re-worded that statement in the context of this conversation. (Granted that is not something I would EVER say to anyone FF- it's a personal opinion with regards to a few studies I have read).



That being said I have NEVER, nor will I ever second guess a Mother for FF- My sister FF and I gladly warm bottles and feed them to my nephew in the middle of the night. - and he is a thriving happy little man. It is just not a choice I chose to make. The point I was making with this thread is that I am openly criticized and judged for BF/ NIP when that is never the case for FF.

Jennifer - posted on 07/22/2010

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I think you saying it does more harm than good is just as bad as you thinking they are trying to make you feel guilty about EBF.
Formula is not the devil.
If you can pick who was EBF and who was FF out of a room of adults then you have a valid argument.
It is a choice and you do not have a right to make others second guess their choices either.

FWIW I EBF both my girls for over a year each and they were 18m apart so almost 3 years straight so I am very pro EBF.

Mara - posted on 07/22/2010

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Depend how you define 'our society'
Formula helped heaps the global society by reducing famine and issues with early cow's milk digestion !!
Both (FF and BF) have pro and cons and of course people have different views...
For me each has a place in life, and need for different mums and bubs...
as my doctor said when I was pregnant:

"get used to conflicting information and opinions before your bub is born... cause 'coping skills' is a must for new mums... and a very thick ear !! ! "

Sara - posted on 07/21/2010

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Just to be clear I wanted to EBF but for a couple of months I have been supplementing while at work. Didn't get time to pump, and ran out of "storage supply." Lol. Again, not condemning anyone. But I do personally feel guilty for supplementing my kiddo, and I'm never going to let anyone guilt me or use their ignorance to persuade me to use formula. It's going to be my decision, and I won't do it unless I can help it. I would just personally rather breastfeed. I hate when people try to tell me I don't know what I'm talking about. Lol.

Sara - posted on 07/21/2010

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I think one of the issues is that formula companies make it look like formula is BETTER for babies than breastmilk, because they add all sorts of stuff to it. Well, the stuff they're adding to it is already in breastmilk, so no need. But it confuses the masses.



Some of it may be guilt. I wish every mom would try to breastfeed but I understand that there are personal reasons for not doing it, and [although the percentage is extremely low] some moms just can't. :(



I know when my son was congested and I mentioned to my MIL that he didn't want to take the breast, she said he just didn't want it anymore. [He was only a couple months] I told her no that's not it. She said there's nothing wrong with formula or a bottle, and that she had to use formula for her babies starting at 6 months. [To this day she insists on having formula in her house when she baby sits "in case of emergencies. Today when I got home from work I caught her giving him a bottle instead of mixing it w the leftover 2 oz of breastmilk in the fridge bc apparently she didn't know he could have both. I poured the formula out and nursed him :) ] I'm not condemning FF moms, but [my MIL's excuse is "at least it's something to eat" - but I don't compare formula to potato chips on a regular basis. Just to clarify :P ] if you have the choice between feeding your child fruits and vegetables, or potato chips, why would you feed them potato chips just because "at least they're eating something"??



Kudos to all the mommies who have chosen to BF and stuck with it, and if for any reason any of you have had to FF, kudos to you too. I just hope no one is passing unfair judgement. :)

Tara - posted on 07/21/2010

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It really seems like there was a period of time that most women formula fed their babies and breastfeeding just wasn't very popular anymore or they just didn't BF for very long. Probably the time when formula first came out and then probably a while after that. And it was alll about making money. People would say whatever they could to make formula the better choice so they could sell as much of it as they could. Breastmilk is definitely the best for your baby. It is formulated just for your baby and has everything your baby needs. The only time I think formula is better is if the mom is on drugs/alcohol or some type of medication that shouldn't be passed through the milk to the baby. Honestly, I breastfed at first and had some difficulties of my own, so I switched to formula after 3 months with my daughter and after 5 months with my son. Because of how many people around me used formula, I didn't feel like it was a big deal to switch to formula after 3 months with my daughter. I actually felt like 3 months was a long time to BF and it was longer than other people went. Then with my son, I am around a lot more people that BF and now I have Facebook and Circle of Moms and know soooo much more than I did before. I feel really guilty now and wish that I would have breastfed both kids until they were at least 1, maybe even 2. But with my son, I felt like it wouldn't be fair to BF too much longer than I did with my daughter. But I was able to get him to latch on with a nipple shield. I pumped and fed my daughter. anyways..... you wanted an honest answer. :D You should not feel guilty at all. Someday, you will look back and be sooo glad that you continued doing it, despite all the crazy talk from other people. Good for you for doing it!! I wish I did....

Kim - posted on 07/21/2010

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@Sarah Bell Good for you. I think its admirable the out look that you are coming from. I truly hope you don't allow fanatical BF'ers make you feel like you have damaged your child.

My point was, like Emily Spearly was saying. You offer a bottle in public, and NO ONE questions you, only to comment on how adorable your baby is. I BF in public and people shun me. Comment (though rarely) with crude, insulting and invasive advice. Then you have the people who, I think are genuinely interested in BF come up and just tell my why they think Formula is ok/better/easier to use. All with out me even opening my mouth to voice my opinion, or to say I'm interested in hearing theirs.

I whole heartedly agree, it is no Mothers job to tell another Mother how to feed her child. I just think that BF Moms get a bad wrap for being fanatics, when I have been attacked more by FF moms- I have yet to hear of a Mom FF in public being verbally attacked.

Rebecca - posted on 07/21/2010

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People are just weird. Their reactions will, unfortunately, only increase over time. As always, just do what is right for you and your child, and smile politely and grit your teeth at the well meaning 'advice'. : ) Hope you're having fun being a mum. : )

Nicole - posted on 07/21/2010

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What an interesting conversation. I'm BF #3. My first two were EBF. My third had only 1 bottle at the very beginning. Reason? She had jaundice nearly high enough to keep her at the hospital and her pediatrician said the best way to get rid of it was for her to pee. The best way for that was to give her a bottle until my milk came in (so she'd nurse in between bottles was the idea - thankfully my milk came in after the first bottle!).



But in all my time nursing I've never had a negative comment. I've had a few positive ones, a few times in public where someone moves away when I start to nurse, and a friend who does sound guilty when she talks about how she breastfed but couldn't keep up a supply. I've heard this a lot (about not being able to supply enough milk). I'm really curious about this? How is it that many women say this? Is it because they're not nursing on demand? Pumping? I never used pacifiers (my kids hated them anyway when I did try!), never looked at the clock. And my babies BF a lot. My first two were every hour on the hour for quite awhile. Maybe moms are unconsciously trying to set a schedule since that seems to be all you hear about (I did anyway - my kids never followed the norms so I've learned to ignore it all). Anyway, it's just a question/answer that has always intrigued me. After all, formula's pretty recent.

Gayle - posted on 07/21/2010

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I've been getting that alot at work. My daughter is 4 1/2 months old and i BF, so i pump in the office at work. I had one girl tell me that i need to stop spoiling my kid and give her a bottle, another woman asked if i was "getting tired of THAT (BF) yet" and that i've been doing it long enough.... And still a third woman had the gall to tell me that " Formula was fine for her son, so i should just put my kid on formula" The last woman also told me while i was pregnant that "Pregnant women are disgusting and that she was glad that i wore oversized shirts 'cause women that show off there pregnant bellies are nasty!" When she said something about my BFing, I finally got fed up and told her that although formula was "fine for her son, my daughter was not going to settle for fine, that she was going to get the best and that i don't believe in giving my child a bunch of chemicals...." Needless to say, she wasn't too happy with my answer.... Then my MIL told me that "If the cow is drying up, I should supliment with formula" all because we started my daughter on cereal. Believe me, the COW is not dry! And I resent her for insinuating that I am a cow!

Darcel - posted on 07/20/2010

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Justifications for Formula are the same for Justification for Beastfeeding: The baby is hungry. Breastfeeding may be "best", but BF only may not be the best option for every mother. I was one of the many moms who BF and FF at the same time. I needed to work and my son needed to eat. Do I advocate BF'ing YES! Do I shun FF moms? OF COURSE NOT! We are all on the same team.

Christina - posted on 07/20/2010

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The lack of education and understanding the extreme benefits of breastfeeding leads to the negative opinion. I did not breastfeed my first child, he is 21 years old now. All through his childhood he suffered from upper respiratory problems, from allergies to asthma. I was very young when he was born and naive. But I contribute his ailments to formula feeding. There was not the push nor the resources then that are available now. I breastfeed, not exclusively, my 6 month old daughter and will continue to until she is 12 monhs old. She gets one bottle at night, this allows Daddy to bond a bit more with her. This bottle either consist of breast milk or formula.

I have encounter the same issue and it disgust me. I am extremely modest and try to breastfeed very discretely so not to disrupt anyone. It truly is the choice of each mother on what is best for their baby. No one has the right to pass judgement upon you or anyone else for doing what is best for your baby, nor is it their business. God gave us the means to care and nurture our children. We have the right to use them, boobs are not just used to fill our shirts.



Don't get discouraged.

Nicole - posted on 07/20/2010

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I find it's their issue for some they were not able to do it for a variety of reasons (lack of support or knowledge). I think others are just ignorant on the subject. Sorry you are experiencing their issues. Good luck.

Dawn - posted on 07/20/2010

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My daughter is 14 months and still breastfed.
I've found that some formula mums are very defensive about using formula and others just get on with it. It can vary from person to person.
I do not agree that formula does more harm than good though - I have mummy friends who wern't able to breastfeed and my mum was also in that situation when I was a baby so if it wasn't for formula how are those babies meant to eat?

Jamie - posted on 07/20/2010

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I agree with what some other moms have said about people feeling the need to defend their choice because they never want to be made to feel like they made the "wrong choice". I think you run across this all the time with both BF moms and FF moms...

I can't help but thinik though, that for some of these people who are so outspoken against breast feeding, their discomfort stems from personal confusion about the dual role of breasts as sexual objects and functional body parts. I have never encountered a FF mom who had a problem with my breastfeeding who didn't tell me how "disgusting" or "indecent" it was that i fed my baby that way. I think one would be very hard pressed to find a FF mom who legitimately thought breastmilk was somehow bad or inferior to formula.

I think that BF moms tend to get overly defensive because, well, when you're virtually being accused of molesting your child and exposing the whole world to your sexuality (or sexual fetishes, in some people's opinions) you feel the need to defend yourself when you know better! Likewise, if a formula feeding mother is encountering the attitute that she's poisoning her baby or that the choice she made is stupid and selfish, she's bound to defend it with just as much fervor as a BF mother would, put in her position.

Racheal - posted on 07/20/2010

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ok so first off i was to say GOOD FOR YOU FOR EBF!!!!! you keep on doing what is in your heart! having sour milk is a total myth that some people back in the 40-50's told woman so they would formula feed..as far as beeing to modest to "whip it out" that is because america has put an overly sexual hype on breasts! they are just nosey, well thats my opinion anyway...NIP is a very iffy subject and really just varey's person by person..good luck hun and dont let there attitudes stop you from giving your daughter the best

[deleted account]

I think we all need to stay aware that what many people call "excuses" (with inverted commas!) for not breastfeeding are often reflections of their true feelings, what they really feel is the case, and we should definitely not be making judgements.

Not all medical professionals know a lot about breastfeeding, and if you've got an upset, crying baby and a doctor tells you that your milk isn't enough, or hasn't come in or something, you'd probably believe him/her. It's not the mum's fault the doctor doesn't know enough.

There are all sorts of reasons why people prefer formula - medications the mum needs that might affect the baby, life circumstances (eg other family members ill) tension in the mum....The thing that perhaps confuses many mums is that some people choose to formula feed because they want to. I must admit I can't understand this, but that's my issue, nobody elses.

So let's just agree that it's a personal choice. And let's try to make sure that we spread the word about breastfeeding -not just how good the stuff is, but how to do it. Because it doesn't just happen. It would be sad to think that anything as beautiful as breastfeeding could cause a big divide between mothers.

Catherine - posted on 07/20/2010

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I think there is a lot of guilt for feeding formula cause there's no getting away from the fact that Breast is best. I find the same as you when nursing. One mum I know frequntly points out how health her bottle feed babies are and yet I never shove the health of my kids in her face. There are genuine reasons for formula being used such as preminture delivery and ensuing complications or some illnesses/medications that prevent good milk production, really sore or inverted nipples.
Countries like sweden which have amazing uptake and maintained BF rates offer donated breast milk and you'd be more likly to be asked whats wrong with your baby if you were bottle feeding. When I'm abroad usually in Holland I'm always checking that I not offending anyone or that it's OK to feed some where and not once should I have been worried cause people there don't bat an eye, just how it should be. Nobody should need to congratulate you for BF or chastise you for it. It should be the norn.

Ginny - posted on 07/19/2010

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It's funny, moms who breastfeed always feel like people are judging them, and moms who bottle feed always feel like people are judging them. There's always going to be someone who disagrees with your decision and feels the need to let you know, either openly or subversively, despite the fact that it's none of their business.



Many moms who formula-feed live with the guilt of giving up too easily, and will try to justify it so they don't constantly feel as though people think they just didn't care enough about their baby to make breastfeeding work. When my first child was born, he refused to latch on. I was recovering from an emergency c-section and the hospital I was in didn't offer support. I tried over and over again to get him to latch, but I was too naive at the time to reach out for help, and in the end I caved in and just started giving him bottles of breastmilk out of fear that he wasn't getting any nourishment. I pumped and fed him breastmilk for the first 3 months, and then reluctantly switched over to formula. And there's a tiny part of me that still feels guilty, 6 years later, for not getting help and making breastfeeding work. This is despite the fact that I've now successfully breastfed my second and third children, and despite the fact that my oldest is the only one of them who never, ever gets sick and is the one who is the most attached to me, which is proof enough for me that formula will not make your child chronically unwell nor will it affect your ability to bond.



I love nursing my daughter and I loved nursing my second son, but in the long run, once that first year or two is over, it's a moot point whether or not you breastfed. Nobody ever asks me how I fed my 6-year-old or my 3-year-old in their first year of life and it has no bearing on who they are now.



Breastfeeding moms can get stuck up about the fact that we made it work and are doing the best thing for our babies nutritionally. Even after my own experience with my first, I still have to stop myself feeling a little bit smug when I'm nursing my youngest and the mom next to me whips out a bottle. It actually takes me a minute to remember, hey, wait, I've been there. I feel like the best thing I can do is be open to the conversation if it comes up and just be an advocate for breastfeeding and for getting support when it doesn't come easy, because I know from experience how that other mom might be feeling.



I think when it comes down to it people just need to mind their own business.

Kelley - posted on 07/19/2010

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It irks me when strangers make comments but I find it downright terrible when Doctors do the same thing or just show their complete lack of knowledge of breastfeeding.

Celeste - posted on 07/19/2010

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I've run across this, too. I don't sit there and preach to strangers or even say anything to anyone unless asked.

I remember one incident involving my aunt. My sister and I were talking about her pumping (she could never get her daughter to latch). I told her that she was so awesome for pumping, and that it's hard to bond to a pump. My aunt said "Well, my daughter and I are very bonded!" Um..ok? (breastfeeding didn't work out for her)

Honestly, I never know what to say when women tell me their stories. It's such a touchy topic for some, especially when they've tried and it didn't work out..

Emily - posted on 07/19/2010

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I think it's rooted in guilt, and a need for people to feel better about the choices they made.

I have both breastfed and formula/bottle fed, and I've gotten much more criticism about breastfeeding than I ever had about bottle feeding. Bottle feed and no one questions you.... breastfeed and I get all the questions "How long are you going to do that?" and "You're going to do that HERE?" etc. Yep, I've heard many women offer me stories of why they *had* to wean, even though I didn't ask them for that information.

Danielle - posted on 07/19/2010

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I have BF all 4 of my kids & supplemented with formula. I work full time & with my 1st 2 it just got to be too hard to keep up with them pumping. My 1st I completely stopped pumping at 6 mos & BF at 8 mos. My 2nd only got 3 bottles of formula before she was 6 mos, I pumped til 8 & weened her at 11 mos (OB yelled at me 'cause I was 4 mos pregnant).

My sons were harder, they both had weight gain issues (which supplementing with formula did not fix!) Luckily I had a great pedi who supported BF, even though she wanted me to supplement with formula. Neither one gained weight well until they started on solid foods. I also had 'helpful' people telling me I should just stop BF all together because they obviously needed more than they were getting. With my 4th I even had a 1st time mom who gave up BF after 3 weeks, tell me to wake up my 4 day old to feed him because he had been sleeping for 4 hrs.

I have fed my children in restaurants, parks, Sesame Place & Disney World - without people noticing. I have also had to hide in a bedroom at my in-laws to BF my oldest, because it made them uncomfortable. If they forgot I was there & walked in, they'd apoligize & I'd tell them I didn't care I'd BF anywhere! And I love listening to people who have never even entertained the idea of BF, let alone tried it, touting the benefits of the bottle! I have done both & definitely think that bottles are much harder to deal with. I don't have to heat up, mix, or clean anything to BF and have much less to lug around with me for a day out! Our vaca last year to WDW would have been much harder on me if I didn't BF my then 6 mo old. All I needed for him was clothes, diapers, and one container with cereal & enough formula powder to make it. Every other feeding, I just found a place to sit down, so I was comfortable.

Peggy - posted on 07/19/2010

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I think people just don't want to be wrong. Parents can be so competitive. If you do it differently, and you think that your way is the right way, then you must think their way is wrong. I always make sure to say this is whats important to ME for MY family when people start getting defensive about it.

Merry - posted on 07/19/2010

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When I learned all the risks of formula feeding I learned why breastfeeding moms are so against elective formula feeding. I agree we should be civil, but I will not condone giving formula for no reason other then serious health issues. Most medications can be given in safe doses for nursing IF you insist your dr does the work to figure it out! I don't think that moms comfort should precede babies health. If mom is embarrassed bf or doesn't feel like it, then she should read up on the risks of formula. And how you can never give your baby anything close to breast milk artificially. I never judge openly, but I do inform and encourage moms to succeed next time.

Tiffany - posted on 07/19/2010

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I think that people get defensive one way or the other because it is a personal choice and when you make that choice you dont want anyone telling you it was the wrong one or even thinking you made the wrong choice... it is because all of us want to be good moms and do the best we can for our babies. I feel blessed that I was able to BF my babies, when i talk to a mom about formula I usually feel sad for them if they chose to or had to go that route instead of BF but it is not my place to judge what is and was best for them and their baby. All we can do is make the best choices for our children and be there for other moms when the ask for advice... not shove it down their throat when they don't just so we feel better about the choices we made! lol I say make informed decisions for yourself and your children and let others do the same... try not to criticize someone who made the "other" choice and we might not have as much animosity about the issue.

Shelley - posted on 07/17/2010

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I think in some cases its a mix between guilt and curiosity most new mothers no matter what they do just need to be told your doing fine and what you choose in most cases is good for your baby. Good work for breastfeeding!!!

Corinne - posted on 07/17/2010

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I've had people openly abuse me for BF and once when someone told me I was "disgusting" I announced to the whole shopping centre, at the top of my voice, that if they had a problem with me feeding my child in public they should take it up with Mother Nature cause she invented my breasts for that purpose. Needless to say, the offender scuttled off rather red-faced. Don't ever apologise for doing what comes naturally. :) x

Briana - posted on 07/17/2010

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It could end if BOTH SIDES WOULD STOP PICKING ON THE OTHER. It's a two way street people. If you want FF mom's to stop picking on you for BFing, try stopping yourself from saying things publicly like "Breast is best". It might be true, but it puts them on the defensive and it makes it seem like your purposely trying to make them feel guilty. No one should have to be "proud" and "stand up" for feeding their child. As long as the child is fed, who gives a crap? It's pretty freakin normal to feed an infant, so no one should have to stand up for themselves on how they decide to do it. BFing and FFing are both normal in this day and age, and both sides need to get freakin used to it AND GET OVER IT.

Angie - posted on 07/17/2010

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It possibly is guilt or jealousy because you have the guts to actually make a stand for something that is so right and so natural. I still get it to this day. I used to have a badge for my youngest baby's pram that said "My mummy is giving me the Breast start in life" My SIL asked how is it the best? Gave her all the health benefits etc. Now my youngest is 4 I am pregnant with baby #4 and they ask me "Oh your not going to breastfeed again are you?" And I say of course I am we've been through this already I am going to give the best start to my child's life and explain again why its the best. I think the more its drummed into people with a naive view the more people will come to understand it and then do it for their own or at least encourage it for their children's children.

Kim - posted on 07/17/2010

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I understand that BF mom's can be a bit fanatical. But on the same coin can we be blamed? Every magazine I look at has at least 2 pages of formula ad's, every other commercial is for a new and improved formula that you'll feed your baby if you really love them. I can't even log on to facebook anymore with out seeing an ad for formula. BF'ing Moms are bombarded by the media with ads saying we're not good mothers because we don't formula feed. When was the last time you saw and ad saying BF is the way to go?

I agree 100% with you Briana that a FF mother should not have a Jaw dropping experience. But I don't deserve to be told to cover up, hide, or give my child formula. We all need to mutually respect each other instead of making it a polarizing debate.

Yes, it is a personal choice- I'm not in the place to judge. But neither are FF moms! I don't think anyone has any right to tell a Mother how she should feed her child. I personally would never offer my daughter a bottle of formula. But if thats what a mother wishes to do, I won't guilt them over it. (I've given my nephew plenty of bottles of formula since thats why my sister wishes to do).

I wonder if the breast vs formula debate will ever end?

Hannah - posted on 07/17/2010

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Briana, I agree with what you have said about formula feeding mothers feeling they need to defend their choices, that's exactly how I felt with my first. If I saw someone breastfeeding while I was bottle feeding I almost wanted to go over and say - 'I did try my hardest to breastfeed, honest, but in the end I chose to switch!' - as having wanted to breastfeed and failed first time round, it made me feel like I didn't want people to think I hadn't even tried.

Luckily with my second child breastfeeding has been much easier, and my experience with my first child has taught me not to judge, and that formula feeding is ok too. Not my first choice but my baby did fine on it, and is a healthy happy girl.

Briana - posted on 07/16/2010

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I think they do it because BFing people can become Nazi's, so they automatically feel the need to defend themselves. I have had some mean things from FF mom's said to me, and their jaws drop when I tell them that I see no problem in FF a baby and that it's a mother's choice and that I have given my son formula on occasion. The problem is...THEIR JAWS SHOULDN'T DROP LIKE THAT!! It's horribly, horribly sad when FF mom's feel the need to defend themselves to every single BF mother for fear they will be judged and ridiculed.

Rachel - posted on 07/16/2010

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I ran into that alot. I smoke and was going to bottle feed until I found out that it was still better to bf if you are a smoker, needless to say, I have tried numerous times to quit but still havent succeeded. I have a friend that didnt succeed at bf-ing and quit after 1 day. she has pulled up all of these articles to make me feel badly about it when I know that he will be fine. he's ten months old now and is has had one cold that he caught from her son other than that nothing. and these articles are referring to parents that smoke in the presence of their children which i do not. I think she tries to make me feel badly to amke herself feel better about giving up so quickly. I never cut her down for bottle feeding. I think it is guilt.

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