I read an article in The Guardian yesterday and wanted to write a response to it. The title is “What I’m really thinking: The bottle feeding mother.” The writer claims that although she had to bottle feed due to medical complications she would do it out of choice next time she has a baby.
But, she also states that the breastfeeding mothers make her feel judged and as if she is a “lesser mother” watching her, thinking “How could you? We’re doing the best for our baby, why aren’t you?”
I find it interesting that she could get all that from a look. Could it in fact be her own guilt, the fact that she is NOT giving her baby the best that he could get that is making her feel so defensive? Of course I am not saying that mothers who could not breastfeed and could find no other alternative of human milk should feel guilty for formula feeding. Your baby has to eat and if formula is your only option, you should feel no guilt. But to say she would choose to formula feed over breastfeeding is to say that she would choose to deprive her baby of a milk that is so perfect that since the birth of humans it has evolved to ensure the survival of our species. A milk that carries antibodies, that changes to suit the babies needs for his exact age, that supports the immune system, that nourishes through illness. The only food that has been designed by nature to be exactly what your particular baby needs right in this moment.To deny him the comfort of feeding from his mothers breast, the bonding that comes from these special moments as mother and child.
She states that the breastfeeding mothers are jealous of the efficiency of bottle feeding. Now I’m not sure when it became a race as to who could feed their baby the fastest. I for one know that these years with my now toddler will fly past in the blink of an eye and have always enjoyed the minutes, and often hours of holding him in my arms as he slurps away. These times are precious to me and I have never wished for a more efficient way to get him fed and out of my arms more quickly. If convenience is the argument, I can’t think of a more convenient method of feeding than breastfeeding. Baby is hungry, breast whipped out, baby latched on. No heating, no “rummaging in bags” nothing to forget, nothing to prepare. Easy. As nature intended.
Her final statement indicates that breastfeeding mothers are jealous of the lack of medical issues – “She won’t have cracked nipples, mastitis, thrush or leaking milk.”
No, she might not but who is to say that you will get those things if you do breastfeed?
And recent studies have indicated that women who breastfeed are less likely to develop some types of breast and ovarian cancers, as well as type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and postpartum/postnatal depression.
So, perhaps she couldn’t breastfeed this baby. But I hope that she will put more thought in to her future decisions than just the efficiency.
Please don’t misunderstand me, I truly believe every woman has the right to make the choice of breast or bottle for herself and her baby and be supported in whatever they choose to do.Just make it an informed decision, and know that formula is not equal to breastmilk as much as the big companies would love you to believe that it is.
After all, our babies deserve it.