Which is great, and I applaud their investment of time and energy. I *know* breastfeeding is Not Easy. I’m pretty sure I have a little PTSD from my experience with Cole, and my determination to put in no less than a Herculean effort with Lulu cost our family thousands of dollars, and no small amount of tears. Cole will be 5 next month, Lulu is over 2, and no one even would consider nursing around here anymore, so I’m (mostly) over it. I spent Saturday morning at a Big Latch On event, and felt more positive energy for the amazing women around me than residual pain at my own inadequacies.
I LOVE and support my breastfeeding friends. I am so impressed with my friend who exclusively breastfeeds her twins, seemingly effortlessly. I LOVE and am so proud of my friend who produces *extra* milk and is able to donate to women with less. While I am *positive* their breastfeeding relationships did not come without struggle, in my (pretty crunchy, granola) crowd, these struggles seem to be minimized. Breastfeeding is put on a pedestal – BREAST IS BEST, after all – and that comes at the cost of occasionally alienating those who cannot breastfeed. Or who choose not to.
In my pretty crunchy, granola crowd, I cannot think of a *single* time when a formula-feeding friend looked down upon a breastfeeding mama. I know, I know, I KNOW there are women who have been asked to leave stores and forced to cover up, and we need to normalize breastfeeding and all of that – but in *my* personal experience, I cannot think of a formula feeding mom who felt the need to bash a breastfeeding one.
And that just doesn’t go both ways.
In the effort to promote breastfeeding and offer support to those who are trying to and might need help, we have managed to lose sight of supporting ALL moms. Moms who are trying their hardest, regardless of what way they choose to feed.
I will never forget standing in the local Babies R Us, trying to sort out my coupons and work out which formula I needed, and a passing woman remarked to her friend (intentionally loud enough for me to hear), “Ugh. I would never give that poison to my baby.”
Okay, so yes, breastmilk is best. There are no chemicals or preservatives, it’s free from the tap, automatically adjusts to your baby’s health needs, and gives your baby their first tastes of a wide variety of flavors based on whatever you eat. That’s awesome.
You know what’s not so bad? Formula. My kids are both healthy and strong, and if formula didn’t exist then they would almost certainly not be. Thank God that formula exists, and my family lives in a country where we have access to it, and the means to afford it. I get it. Breastmilk would have been better. But no one feels the need to tell the man with an amputated leg how much easier it would be to run if he had both. Clearly two legs are the ideal. But when two legs are no longer a reality? A prosthetic is a pretty great solution to just sitting there immobile.
Most of this is a response to a single quote in my FB Newsfeed this week:
“Bottles fill his stomach, but breastfeeding fills his soul.”
The sentiment, for a breastfeeding mom, is beautiful. I resent the unattractive comparison to bottles, however, and the implication that my children are somehow soulless because I was unable to produce enough milk for them.
Let’s lift everyone up, rather than tearing others down. Let’s support each other’s choices, and help all parents find what works best for them.
And let’s mind our own damn business before making snarky comments about “poison” in the formula aisle, mmkay?