First thing that pops into your head...

Kate CP - posted on 09/10/2011 ( 239 moms have responded )

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What's the first thought in your head when you see a mom feeding a baby (6 months or younger) from a bottle?

Not meant to be judgmental or rude and no hurt feelings here. I just want genuine insight into this vision.

Personally, my first thought it "I wonder why she's not breastfeeding?"

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Merry - posted on 09/13/2011

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Now I did have some seriously harsh judgement, along with complete sympathy and pity all rolled up into one huge burst of emotion when I saw a young lady, 15-16? Years old bottle feeding a small baby 2-3 months old with a full 8 oz bottle of apple juice! The girl was goth dressed and pierced and tattooed up the wazoo. She sat with an equally dressed young man and a conservatively dressed mom age woman. Idk what was going on but it made me mad and sad to see such a tiny baby being fed juice in such quantities. Or the lady I saw feeding her approx, 4 month baby fries dipped in ketchup. Seriously I'm not joking, this was in the food court in the mall in Milwaukee Wisconsin. Both scenarios were in the mall.......I just feel so bad for the babies!

Merry - posted on 09/13/2011

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Same here Kate, why isn't she breastfeeding? Then I try to figure out why just from looking at her. My mind is not even close to as censored as my mouth......

Stifler's - posted on 09/13/2011

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No one in real life has ever criticized me for formula feeding. Except my mum and I went rage at her.

Sarah - posted on 09/13/2011

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I agree with Cathy, although I have been met with some judgmental attitudes in real life, the worst and most cruel things I've seen in regards to bottle feeding have been here on COM's. Maybe it's because people feel free to let out their nasty side as they're safe behind their computer screens.....who knows.
I will say that I'm EXTREMELY glad that I didn't discover COM's until after I'd had my youngest! I think if I'd read some of attitudes here on COM's when I was having my eldest, it would have tipped me over the edge!

I think Sherri brings up a good point too........not everyone can afford to stay at home and continue to breastfeed.......and a lot of the time, rather than being applauded for the time they HAVE been breastfeeding, they're judged for stopping!

It seems to me, that with the "lactivists" you cannot do anything right.........

People have very different lives, and very different sets of what's more important.....for me, having a happy baby and a happy Mum, who wasn't in tears constantly at the thought of breastfeeding, was more important than baby getting breastmilk.........but that's just me.......if it's super important to YOU, then that's great, go for it, encourage (not sit in judgement) others..........but don't honestly, at the end of the day, it's everyone's own choice.

Sherri - posted on 09/13/2011

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Here is another huge thing to consider most mom's in the US can't breastfeed longer than 12wks exclusively since 66% of US moms return back to work full time.

Despite the legal right to do so, many nursing mothers employed outside of the home do not continue breastfeeding their infants upon return to work.

Breastfeeding and working outside of the home are not concepts that easily go hand in hand. Mom is in one place, baby in another, but just because a mother is going back to work – either full time or on a part time basis – does not mean she has to stop breastfeeding. However, the percentage of working mothers who continue to breastfeed their children is much lower than those who are not employed outside of the home.

http://www.suite101.com/content/working-...

Sal - posted on 09/12/2011

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while i know that bf is best i do think that debating how to get more babies bf is kind of rich moms with little else going on, really there are hundreds of babies starving, neglected abused and the lactivsts are worried about bf.......even mums who bf for the longest time are only doing it for such a tiny part of your childs life....isn't it better to focus on motherhood as a whole rather than that one tiny part???

Lacieann - posted on 09/12/2011

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I go "Oh wad a coote widdle bebe!!"

I don't really notice bottle feeding.

Though I notice a BFing mom and after BFing my daughter I feel that we are part of a secret sisterhood of moms. I know that seems odd, but it's like a silent connection based on a shared experience.

Sherri - posted on 09/12/2011

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Nothing??? I have zero thoughts on it at all?? Sadly I actually prefer to see that then a woman's boob.

I most likely will be pumping and putting it in a bottle for the times when we are in public and there is no private place to breastfeed. Also I won't be breastfeeding past 6mo's anyways, 6mo's is my limit.

Krista - posted on 09/12/2011

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Now to increase bf I think instead of focusing on painting formula in a negative light we need to look at normalising bf.

Bango! That's exactly it. It's a bit of a chicken-egg thing, really. We will increase the number of women breastfeeding by normalizing breastfeeding. And how do we normalize it? By having more and more women doing it.

It's getting there. It really is. Jeez, think back to the 1970's, when women were actively discouraged from breastfeeding. So we've come a long way. Do we still have a ways to go? Of course. But demonizing formula is NOT the answer. There are many women out there, like myself, who had no choice but to FF, and making us feel like bad mothers accomplishes nothing. It only makes lactivists look like a bunch of unsympathetic bullies.

[deleted account]

"Let me throw a wrench into the machine, here:
How can we, as a society, help to increase the numbers of moms who breastfeed if we are not willing to view bottle or formula feeding in a more negative light?"

This goes back to changing the viewpoint of hard-core lactivists. Once the perception is more of an understanding stance, that bottles and formula is NOT evil, those hard-core lactivists can then concentrate on how to spread the message about breastfeeding in a positive light. And let's be honest, the issue is not with the formula feeding mom, or the bottle-feeding mom when we don't knwo what is in the bottle. It goes back to hard-core lactivists and their insensitivity to their "NOTHING but breast" mantra. Once that gets changed, society might find more breastfeeding moms.

Jocelyn - posted on 09/12/2011

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Kate my answer is the same as yours; I wonder why she's not breastfeeding?

Amber - posted on 09/12/2011

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Sara~ Yep, we're pregnant :) We just found out a few weeks ago.



I agree with the ladies saying that supporting moms would probably increase the likelihood of breastfeeding. I've heard from a few moms that people were so pushy about them doing it and so rude when "helping" them, that they gave up before they tried hard because they were being treated like failures already.

[deleted account]

To answer your op I think 'oh look at the baby' the fact they are being bottle fed doesn't factor in, but before I had poppy when I saw a woman bf (very rare) I would think 'oh I wish I could have bf' and would feel pangs of jealousy, now if I see a bf woman I think 'yes I bf too woohoo' - it's all about me lol



Now to increase bf I think instead of focusing on painting formula in a negative light we need to look at normalising bf. Laws need to be explicit that a mother can feed their child anywhere (with exceptions for safety and hygiene), which in turn would help people who do bf feel they do not have to hide, leading to more people seeing bf and it becoming more Normal.



I also feel that educating people (not just women men need to know as well) before, during and after pregnancy on bf, the myths, the practicalities, the difficulties etc will help families understand that bf babies go shorter times between meals for example. If people understood the difficulties and how to vercome them that should increase bf numbers - at the moment there are a lot of misconceptions!

Sal - posted on 09/12/2011

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i think we really need to look at what we want to achieve, is it for more bf babies or happier healthier mums and bubs, i do not see those 2 things as the same, honestly if the pressure put on new mums to bf wasn't so huge they might actually be comfortable and relaxed enough to do it well and long term, and also ask for help if it isn't working, i felt i had to stop for a few reasons, my freinds and hubby were totaly fine, but sites like this, mums mags and the media at large could really make a mum feel like a negectful and poor mother for that choice.....what i guess i am trying to say is that if the presure wasn't so strong and failure so frowned upon maybe more mums could just go with it and see without fear of judgement,

Kate CP - posted on 09/12/2011

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Okay, so NOW what I'm hearing is that the support that women do have is more like boot camp. I can kind of relate to that. When I had my son even though I told them I had successfully nursed my daughter they kept trying to tell me how to nurse my son.

We need better listeners in our support groups is the gist I'm getting?

Minnie - posted on 09/12/2011

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I wonder if birth culture is a big part of it. If you birth in a hospital you're more likely to have nurses who aren't educated on the normal course of breastfeeding. You're more likely to have a little bag filled with samples and coupons. You're more likely to have a c-section, have drugs that disrupt breastfeeding and your son is more likely to be circumcised, which can make breastfeeding difficult.



Homebirths involve midwives, most of whom are knowledgeable about the normal course of breastfeeding- and I even had to sign a 'contract' that I would breastfeed my baby if I was to birth with her. They're supportive of an environment that keeps mother and baby together (yes, yes, I know that some hospitals do this, but there are so very few 'baby-friendly-labeled hospitals), and she's not likely going to be so quick to offer formula coupons and samples.



It's not bad that mothers are more comfortable birthing in a hospital. That's not what I'm saying- but the environment often has a big impact on breastfeeding rates.



Health care professionals definitely need to get on board with becoming educated about breastfeeding. My own pediatrician had no clue about foremilk/hindmilk imbalance. They wanted to prescribe zantac and even went as far as to suggest -exploratory surgery!!!!- to see if she had a block that caused all the projectile vomiting. Then later at 6-12 months they insisted my milk 'wasn't good enough' because my daughter was around 1-3rd percentile for weight. Not considering that I'm slim, my husband is, and that they were following guidelines based on formula-fed babies. Their advice made me so unsure of myself as a breastfeeding mother.



When I went into sugery when Adelaide was about two the surgeon insisted I 'temporarily wean' her because the drugs would get into her system. Hello lady, I know my stuff. No, I did not temporarily wean my two year old. I had to take my drug books to her and show her in print. How many other mothers are told they have to wean for surgery? And then continue to bottle feed because they're on pain killers and the doctor says they can't nurse with them?



We don't need to demonize formula. But we need health care professionals who have a CLUE about breastfeeding. We also need mothers to know about and have more access to breastfeeding support.

Johnny - posted on 09/12/2011

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I think we need more reasonable expectations, we need to have a better understanding of the process, and more support post-partum. I hear so many mothers assuming they do not make enough milk, but no one really seems to have been told what "enough" milk is and how to know that the baby is receiving it. Since so many grew up only seeing bottlefeeding for the most part, we all think of a baby needing x amount of ounces every x hours. Breastfeeding just doesn't really work like that, and when we expect it to, we are often disappointed. So many moms assume they aren't making enough milk because their baby is hungry more frequently than every 3 hours, as is the norm for formula, so they start supplementing. No one seems to be told that breastmilk is often processed more efficiently by the infant gut than formula so babies will often get hungry more frequently because while they are receiving all the necessary nutrients, their guts empty out more quickly so they feel hungry. Which is natural and by design, but in our world which is based on assumptions that work for bottle feeding, that can lead moms down the wrong path.

Also, I think that perhaps "lactivists" and "breastfeeding support people" need to find a way to not be in the same group. My experience seeking support outside the medical profession was very negative, I was quite harshly judged for having had a breast reduction. Clearly, I didn't give enough thought to the baby I would be having 6 years down the road. They did not understand my problems and made assumptions that I was either stupid or didn't care. They did not understand my unique needs and were incredibly discouraging. I was lucky to have such an incredibly supportive family, and the guts not to listen when people said I couldn't breastfeed while supplementing and succeed. They were wrong. But had I not received such great advice from my family, it wouldn't have happened.

I really do not think being negative about formula is the answer. Being truthful about it is fine, but there is no need for value judgments. I do find that the simple comment that breastfeeding is best is often perceived as a value judgment, but, well, tough. It's the truth. But no one has to insult formula or the moms who use it. In my case, it would have been a huge help if people hadn't just assumed that my supplementing was a failure, but seen my breastfeeding as a triumph. No one expected me to be able to nurse, when I did, even though it wasn't exclusively, I felt great. None of the "breastfeeding supporters" seemed to agree. By letting the formula touch my daughter's lips, I had failed her. That hurt. To me, it's stuff like that which leads moms to give up on trying. It doesn't have to be a zero sum game.

Sarah - posted on 09/12/2011

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I would say that to increase numbers of breastfeeding Mum's....women should be supportive rather than judgmental.

If it wasn't seen as such a "failure" these days if you don't breastfeed until 2yrs+ then perhaps more women would feel encouraged and continue on......instead of being put under HUGE pressure by other women.
I think that a woman that breastfeeds even a handful of times should be applauded! It does not come easily to some people......instead, some women come across SO judgmental and putting themselves on a pedestal......

I also think that improved help with breastfeeding at the hospital would help A LOT. The "help" I received was crap!

I do genuinely believe though that women are each others worst enemies a lot of the time when it comes to things like this...............I don't think that formula needs to be painted in a more negative light, I think that all the judgmental "lactivists" need to stop and think about whether their attitudes are doing more harm than good.....

Kate CP - posted on 09/12/2011

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So, what I'm hearing is this:

Not your business, shouldn't judge others, at least the kid is being fed.

Let me throw a wrench into the machine, here:
How can we, as a society, help to increase the numbers of moms who breastfeed if we are not willing to view bottle or formula feeding in a more negative light?

This is for argument sake only! I am doing research on this topic and it is NOT meant to start a flame war or hurt feelings!


...Discuss. :)

Sarah - posted on 09/12/2011

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I would probably think what a cute baby, poor mom is probably being judged for her personal choice.

Jakki - posted on 09/12/2011

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Kate - I'm not really proud of myself but I admit I would think "sigh - another bottle feeder - I wish mothers would breast feed more"... but I wouldn't say anything or glare at the mum. I'm also aware that she might have half killed herself trying to breastfeed, so I'm not judging her specifically, just I'd be sad to see the bottle.

Mary - posted on 09/12/2011

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Truthfully, the method of feeding doesn't even enter into my thoughts. If it's just her and her baby (no other little ones in the picture) I'm most likely thinking, "God I miss those days when Molly was that little - she was so much easier to manage then - I just didn't know it at the time!".

Although I did breastfeed my own child for 13+ months, I really don't give much thought to how a random stranger is feeding their baby. Now, if someone asks me about it, I'll discuss my views. However, I have found that I am very careful about how I phrase things, and I do have a tendency to emphasize how (relatively) easy I had it - she was pleasant baby who latched right away, I had a huge supply, my mother and sister breastfed too, etc. I don't know why, but I'm very conscious about trying to not come off as seeming superior or condescending. Perhaps it's a result of seeing too many snotty and judgmental lactivists on COM ;-)

Carolee - posted on 09/11/2011

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I'm just saying that when I bottle fed, I would do everything just as I did when breastfeeding. The only difference was that my kid drank from a nipple on a bottle and not my breast.

Kylie - posted on 09/11/2011

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I said skin to skin contact throughout the day (through breastfeeding) I didn't say all bottle fed babies get no skin to skin contact.

Kylie - posted on 09/11/2011

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I think our own experiences shape our thinking. It's not like I'm going to walk up to a baby having a bottle and give them a lecture on formula. Intellectually i know many babies thrive on formula and it's the mothers choice but emotionally i feel breastfeeding is awesome and a human right.
People judge, we categorize and stereotype, it's human nature. As long as we treat people with respect, we are entitled to our thoughts.

Carolee - posted on 09/11/2011

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And, just a point, just because a baby is bottle-fed doesn't mean they DON'T get skin-to-skin contact when they eat at home. Not all do, but not all don't.

Amanda - posted on 09/11/2011

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I breastfed both my kids and was lucky that I had a really easy time of it with both of them, my first I breastfed for nearly 11 months and was working full time, so I am of the pro breastfeeding view I just don't see why people have to judge what others choose to do regardless of whether they were unable to breastfeed or chose not too

Kylie - posted on 09/11/2011

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OK I'll be honest, when i see a newborn with a bottle i think "i hope thats breast milk in there". It makes me remember breastfeeding my two kids and how much they loved the boob. I think because my breastfeeding experience was so positive i find myself feeling a bit sorry for bottle fed babies, that they dont get to experience a warm boobie and the skin to skin contact throughout the day. Probably not a popular view point but I'm being honest.

Amanda - posted on 09/11/2011

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Personally I would just be looking at the baby and thinking where the time had gone since mine were that little.

Why the hell does it matter how someone feeds their baby, and why is it anyone elses business why they are feeding that way

Stifler's - posted on 09/11/2011

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Logan attempts to help feed baby. But he smooshes the bottle too hard into her mouth and she starts getting pissed off when I'm like gentle gentle logan stop doing it so hard etc. so i tell him to go away and finish feeding her.

[deleted account]

I never bottle propped. By 6 months old my daughters were both holding their own bottles though. I also had my oldest (5 when our 3 year-old was born and 7 when the 2 year-old was born) feed the babies a lot. Not because I was busy (I usually wasn't) but because she really liked to and it was adorable seeing her with her baby sisters. We had a Boppy pillow that she used to help hold the baby up and then she had an arm under the head and her other hand holding the bottle :) I have so many adorable pictures :)

Rosie - posted on 09/11/2011

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i have done that once or twice as well. if baby is hungry and i'm in a hurry i would have to. if i wasn't in a hurry i'd sit down and feed him, but i always tried to go out when he wouldn't be hungry. it would always be a surprise hunger if that happened.

Sal - posted on 09/11/2011

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i would of held the bottle..bottle proping just doesn't work that well on little ones

Sal - posted on 09/11/2011

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i have probally done that after about 4-6 months when i'd stopped bf, why, i was busy, half way through groceries crying baby,bottle on hand, places to be, running late as a mum you do what you have to to get through the day..(i think i mentioned before how far i had to travel to shop with 2 young children, a bottle on the go was a god send), not my ideal but i'm sure it would of happened

Stifler's - posted on 09/11/2011

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I bottle feed and I don't like propping the bottle. It doesn't work very good.

Lady Heather - posted on 09/11/2011

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Yeah, I am not a fan of bottle propping either. Maybe it comes from my own bias of really wanting to have the cuddle time with my kid and being unable to breastfeed, but I really valued the time with her all cuddled up to feed.

Saw the weirdest thing the other day out at breakfast. This family was all out for brunch (like extended family - apparently it was for the baby's Christening...they were loud). They had the baby in her car seat and had taken a wooden high chair and put it upside down and popped the car seat in it. I hope that description is good enough to get the picture. It did not look stable at all. Then they bottle propped on top of that. The kid was maybe 2 months old. And there were a billion people there and no one could hold her and feed her? It was just strange. But then again, the grandma had a greasy sausage in one hand the whole time she was eating her meal so I guess they just have a problem with feeding.

Johnny - posted on 09/11/2011

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To Kate's most recent scenario (if I actually took the time to think about it, which is unlikely because I'd probably be too busy dealing with my own issues) I might just think that it's too bad she wasn't able to breastfeed using a Moby wrap or Ergo or something. Not because it's "better" or I'd be judging her, but simply because it would be a shitload easier than trying to shop while pushing a cart and holding a bottle. That just sounds stressful & complicated. I would also give her kudos for taking the effort to hold the bottle rather than prop it. I hate bottle propping and I'm not ashamed to stand up and say it. So seeing a mom going through all that, I'd think she was trying really hard to do the best for her baby. I used to bottle feed while shopping with my daughter in the Ergo, which was probably also a lot easier than what Kate described. I guess I just always found those travel car seat things so cumbersome and annoying. I used it all the time until I switched to a baby carrier, and I was so glad I did. Now when I see moms lugging those things around, I just want to lend them my Ergo and give them a neck massage.

[deleted account]

That's horrible Heather (your post on the first page)!

While I do wonder why a mother isn't breastfeeding (yeah, could be breastmilk, but it's stiil 'bottlefeeding'), it's none of my business and I'm not thinking my question in a negative way.... just a curious one. I would never say anything to her about it and would never not associate w/ someone or not be their friend because they are bottlefeeding their baby. That's just ludicrous and I'm sorry you were treated that way! :(

Gina - posted on 09/11/2011

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I'd think 'Oh how cute,wish I could have another baby'. I doubt I'll stop long enough to see how the baby is been fed.

Lady Heather - posted on 09/11/2011

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In that case I'd probably be thinking that she must be having a busy day.

Kate CP - posted on 09/11/2011

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For argument's sake I'll give you a better for example:

Small baby, about 3-4 months old, in a carrier or travel system, with a bottle of something that looks like milk (could be formula, you don't know) and mom is holding the bottle while she shops.

Honestly this is just a for-instance, this is not a real world scenario.

[deleted account]

I honestly don't have any reply. It's a mother feeding a baby. I don't give it a second thought. Do we KNOW what's in the bottle?

Sal - posted on 09/11/2011

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unless she was doing it while walking across the road (ala jacki o) or has it full of something other than milk (coke juice for example) it doesn't enter my train of thought at all..is a complete non event

Stifler's - posted on 09/10/2011

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I was flaunting that shit all over the place LOOK AT ME EVERYONE I'M BOTTLE FEEDING.

Lady Heather - posted on 09/10/2011

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Well you were the one flaunting your exposed bottle, so what were you expecting? ha.

Stifler's - posted on 09/10/2011

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I don't think anyone has ever stared at me while I bottle fed, only once has anyone said anything and that was some guy who worked at Myer who told me the mother's room was 10 blocks that way etc. in the shoe department when I pulled a bottle out and shoved it in Logan's mouth. I was like thanks... and kept feeding. I secretly wanted to tell him to fuck off, I think he just hated kids though.

Lady Heather - posted on 09/10/2011

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Really Krista? I've received much more judgment in the real world. I don't know if the bottle feeders just stay home around here, but I was one of two at the library baby group and the breastfeeding mums didn't even want to talk to us. It was weird. And I swear to god, every second person I encountered would ask me how I was feeding her and if I told them they were all "Oh no, that's a shame. You must not have had good support" and crap like that. eff off.

I hope I can breastfeed next time just so I can avoid all of that nonsense. And maybe also so there's a breastfeeder at the library who WILL talk to the bottle feeders.

[deleted account]

Kate - California, for now... We're moving to Australia around the first of October. :) Thanks for asking because I like to get that in as much as possible! lol :D

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