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I think it's wonderful that we have no shame about formula—because hello, it's food for your baby and
that's all that matters—I also feel like a lot of our discussions about
breastfeeding and formula feeding have been reduced to what makes Mom the
the truth is, breastfeeding doesn't necessarily have to be about what makes you
feel the most fulfilled as a mother. In fact, I think it's OK to admit that it
can majorly suck—but that it's still an acceptable choice to make for your
baby, even if it's not your ideal.
mothers may hear the common refrain of "do what's best for you" when
it comes to making the decision of whether or not to breastfeed, and while I
recognize that not all women even want to try breastfeeding and that many
physically can't, I also think that new mothers may be missing the message that
it's OK to sacrifice what might feel easiest for you as a mom when it comes to your child.
I do feel like we're missing a lot of opportunities in our careful tiptoeing around the issue of breastfeeding to simply tell new mothers the truth about breastfeeding.
sacrifice a lot for our kids as mothers—our time, our bodies, our patience, our
dinners (why do kids always want to eat off our plates?)—and for a lot of moms,
breastfeeding is no different.
think, in a lot of ways, we've made breastfeeding and formula feeding a
reflection of ourselves as mothers, when it really doesn't have to be that way.
important to give both sides of the story: Breastfeeding doesn't have to
be about personal fulfillment, and encouraging breastfeeding is not a personal
reflection on you as a mother. It's possible to not really enjoy breastfeeding but still make it work. I
guess, in a lot of ways, I hate to see the task of nourishing a baby—either way—reduced
to a personal "choice" that's a reflection of women, because shouldn't
it be more about the baby?
I just want us to able able to say, "Hey! It really is OK to talk about
the benefits of breastfeeding and be honest about it not being a joyous
personal decision for you as a mom without shaming formula feeders." It's
almost like we're so afraid of offending moms who can't or choose not to
breastfeed that we're afraid to encourage moms to breastfeed at all.
And frankly, I think that's offensive.
a very fine line to walk when talking about this topic, because for some women,
the sacrifice of breastfeeding really is too much. Postpartum depression could
literally make the choice not to breastfeed a life-saving one.
Breastfeeding does not make you a better mother, but neither does formula feeding, simply because you're making the choice that's best for you.
general, I do feel like we're missing a lot of opportunities in our careful
tiptoeing around the issue of breastfeeding to simply tell new mothers the
truth about breastfeeding, which is this:
can be hard, hard work and it doesn't have to be a choice that you make for
yourself. You don't have to love breastfeeding or feel fulfilled by it to do
it. It can make you crazy, it can make you feel alone, it can even feel a bit
desperate at times—because for some mothers, breastfeeding is a sacrifice in
every sense of the word.
But that's not necessarily a bad thing.
know self-care and happy, fulfilled mothers are the buzzwords in the parenting
circles right now, and those things are so, so important. But like all things
with motherhood, it's helpful to be honest about breastfeeding. There
are good parts, bad parts and a time and a season for
everything you need to be a happy, self-fulfilled woman will get sidetracked
for a little for a few months or a year or longer while you breastfeed—but that
doesn't mean all hope is lost for you! In my experience, breastfeeding has meant
being honest with myself about the challenges and sacrifices it will mean for
me, my work and even my marriage; it's about knowing my limits. Breastfeeding, for me,
means understanding that I won't have everything all at once (Date nights!
Uninterrupted work time! My body "bouncing back"!) but also
understanding that it really is temporary.
in all this, I guess, is simply to point out that it really is OK to encourage
new mothers to breastfeed without feeling like it's an offensive topic, as long
as we're being honest about it. Breastfeeding does not make you a better
mother, but neither does formula feeding, simply because you're making the
choice that's best for you.