The Breastfeeding Wars

bonding

For some reason, it seems as there are two distinct categories of mothers: Breastfeeding Moms and Formula Feeding Moms. Since becoming a mom myself 13 years ago, I have encountered so many different reactions to any approach you take. If you are a breastfeeding mom who pumps and puts the breast milk in a bottle, you get comments, especially if you’re not doing this to go to work. Why would you forego the special bonding time that only breastfeeding provides?  If you’re a breastfeeding mom who chooses to alternate between formula and breast milk, you get comments for not giving breastfeeding more of a chance and introducing “garbage”. You must not value your baby’s well-being as much as you value your free time. You laugh, but I’m serious. I have literally heard a mom or two liken formula to garbage. No matter that it is packed with nutrients and is been known to hold a baby’s appetite for longer hours at a time.

Alternatively, many formula moms judge the breastfeeding moms as nature-loving “close to the earth” types. They often brand them as less sophisticated moms willing to let the world stop around them while they breastfeed for an hour at a time.

Wonder where I stand? I have alternated between bottle (formula) and breast for my first 3 babies, starting with mostly bottle with my first and increasing breast with my second and third. I used to carry my breast pump to Business School when my second child was 4 months old. But in 2003, Business Schools didn’t have a breastfeeding lounge, so I tried pumping from the bathroom stall and very soon gave up. My fourth was a breastfed baby all the way, until 15 months no less! But all that doesn’t tell you where I stand. I stand in the camp of respect.

Respect others’ choices and curb your preaching, because we don’t know people’s reasons for doing what they do. So please don’t judge a woman until you have walked a mile in her shoes, and focus on what’s really important: Bringing up well loved and well adjusted children! A Bottle or Formula Mom may need to bottle-feed because of work, because of health issues or past surgeries, because this is what her family life permits or simply because she does value her free time as it ultimately enables her to be a better mom. As for breastfeeding moms, there is nothing less unsophisticated then providing your baby with the antibodies that only breast milk could provide, while at the same time bonding with your child for hours. Personally, I am as close to a city girl as they come and yet I cherish my recent breastfeeding hours with the fondest memory.

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