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Friday, March 16, 2012

Formula vs Breastfeeding : A rant

This is an response to Breast Feeding vs Formula : A Rant. 

I am getting so tired of this. Blog after blog after blog of formula feeding moms that have to set the record straight about how they feel persecuted by the breastfeeding police. That they were somehow judged somewhere and some how by some horrible LLL leader or "breastfeeding Nazi". (btw - this term is horribly offensive and disrespectful to the people who have survived the holocaust and those affected by it. - more on that later.)

Why is it that when a mom asks for support or encouragement for breastfeeding issues she gets an onslaught of
I went through this and eventually had to switch to formula, with both babies, it was very discouraging and I felt like a failure, but sometimes our bodies just can't give our babies what they need. YOu obviously are trying and love your baby and that's what is most important. Keep on trying and if it doesn't work out, know that you tried everything you could, you are still a great mom who wants what's best for your baby!

I have been to various lactation consultants and the LaLeche League. I hate to say this but I found LLL a little judgmental. One of the ladies there told me it's a urban myth that a woman can't produce enough milk. That I just was not committed enough. At that point I decided to try and go it myself. I don't feel like anyone should be judged for the choices they make and are already struggling with on a daily basis.

I know how you are feeling...people make you feel so guilty. My body did not produce enough milk for my Son and I had to supplement since he was losing weight. I found it so exhausting, breastfeeding, then the bottle, then pumping. Then it was time to feed again. At 7 weeks my husband finally said while I was pumping and getting nothing, "Don't feel guilty if you want to stop" After I stopped I enjoyed being a new Mom so much more. My Son is almost 2 now and is a happy healthy boy!

Each one of these posts says that they tried and were *unsuccessful* at breastfeeding. Each one. So, how is that encouraging to the mom asking the question? 

I bring this up because there seems to be a real double standard when it comes to formula feeding moms and moms who use breastmilk.  Now I would argue along with The Feminist Breeder that formula feeding is not necessarily a "choice"… but lets argue for a moment that you think it is. One *chooses* to feed formula and one *chooses* to feed breastmilk. Okay. Now, why is it that when ever there is a question on breastfeeding it is taken as an excuse to explain how hard it is and how formula *saved the baby's life* but a breastfeeding mom can't be proud of her accomplishment? Does that somehow make her judgemental of a formula feeding mom? Just because she succeeded at getting milk to come out of her breasts?? 

Another question was posed on Today Moms facebook page asking about how long people had exclusively breastfed for, and what helped them, and what could have helped them even more…. the responses again were not very supportive of breastfeeding…. 

Some babies just don't take to it well and at the end of the day the health and well-being of your child should be more important than you being able to say you exclusively breastfed.

Nothing would have helped. I never lactated at all, not even colostrum. Fortunately, I didn't have any stupid hang ups about it and happily gave my kids formula.

I really wanted to breast feed but from day one my daughter wasn't having it. Pumping is just not the same and doesn't produce milk the same way if that's all your doing. I pumped for about two months then went all the way to formula.

 I did it for 3 months. Never had enough due to death threatening complications when I had my daughter. So I'm VERY thankful for bottles and "the fake powder stuff" like Amy calls it. Two centuries ago my daughter and I would've been dead if it not were for the advancements in medicine.

Are we noticing a trend yet?? 

And then to the Blog in question. This particular blog was written in response to a twitter party with a formula manufacturer giving away free swag being shut down because they were afraid of the backlash from the "lactivist" community. (doesn't that say something right there? The formula company cancelled it on their own because they were afraid of what exactly??)

Anyway, this mom, felt the need to post because she felt that the moms who *choose* formula should get free swag too. (and sure, yes they should). But, the thing is that formula companies are horrible in their marketing practices and they don't really care about you once they have gotten you - I mean just look at the recalls…. they want that NEW mom. That mom who is struggling and LOOKING for SUPPORT - and then they swoop in on their white horse and give her a free sample and *save her baby's life*. 

How is that ethical? 

And so blog posts standing up for the *choice* of formula and saying things like - "You don’t think it crosses our mind that, if it weren’t for formula, our babies would die? Do you think that feels good?"  …are just lining the pockets of the food giants.

What about milk sharing, or milk banks?? (but that is another post entirely).

So when a mom who is really only invested in the health and wellness of another mother and child - mental health as well, has NO ulterior motive…no bottom line…they get mud slung at them - 

unfreakingbelievable. Seriously? And what would these breast milk nazis have done for MY children, when my breast milk didn't contain enough fatty nutrition and I was forced to use formula so that my kids didn't starve to death? When the hell will self righteous bitches learn to mind their own damn business, take care of their own brats as opposed to telling us how to take care of ours? I'm with you on this one, T. This is god damn INFURIATING.

What is infuriating to me is that it seems like if you formula feed you can pretty much say whatever you want and not really get held accountable. You can call activists "Nazis" and it is socially acceptable… You can make a societal issue all about you and not really understand the politics and money behind the issue and blame it all on judgement. 

Basically, you can run your mouth about support and judgement and then turn around and do the EXACT same thing to a mom who is wanting to or actually breastfeeding…. 

Why can we not see the hypocrisy here and why do we allow it to continue?? 

If you truly *chose* to formula feed. i.e.) had an adequate supply of milk, a ton of support, no issues at all and THEN decided that you wanted to formula feed for convenience - as this is the ONLY way that I think it is actually a *choice* then seriously. OWN YOUR CHOICE - and don't feel guilty or defensive because it was YOUR CHOICE.

And moms that tried to breastfeed but could not for whatever reason. Get angry at the medical professionals who failed you. Get angry at your genetics. Get angry at our society for not supporting you. Get angry at the formula companies that undermined you at every turn… but STOP taking it out on other mothers who tried and for whatever reason were lucky at it. Praise them. Look up to them…you wanted to breastfed right? you tried right?? so why the hate for those who made it? 

Stop with the judgement, the name calling and defensiveness…if you want support, start giving it. 

ps. before you start to throw mud at me - my first born was formula fed - and guess what?? He is not *fine*. He has allergies, sleeping issues, and hyperactivity tendencies…. hmmm…the anecdotal evidence didn't work there did it? 


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