Yes, I know breast is best. Get over it already.

May 30, 2009 at 7:38 am Leave a comment

I read a great article (to me, anyway) in Babytalk magazine yesterday.  It was all about formula feeding.  In her front page letter, the magazine’s editor introduces the article and acknowledges that it is likely to inflame some readers, who will undoubtedly bombard her staff with “breast is best” messages and accuse them of pandering to their bottle and formula advertisers.  The editor goes on to say that they are merely presenting one of two good alternatives, that every mother must decide which option is best for her and her baby, and they want to present a balanced look at both sides.

I appreciated this article.  It describes the ten benefits of formula feeding.  Did you know that 61% of babies will be formula fed by the age of 3 months?  While the push to breastfeed has been “en vogue” for two decades now, the majority of women will move to formula before their child is four months old.  While I acknowledge that it’s not breastmilk, today’s formulas are designed to closely resemble breastmilk in its nutritional makeup.

From the reaction of breastfeeding activists, however, you would think that formula was made with rat poison.  When I meet someone who has chosen to breastfeed, I would never consider trying to convince them of the error of their ways.  But it doesn’t work that way from the opposite direction.  I cannot begin to tell you how many judgmental comments I have received from breastfeeding believers on my decision to exclusively formula feed my children.

Their arguments are varied.  There are several tactics:

  • The economical.  Formula is expensive.  Breastmilk is free.  I don’t have a counterargument for this point.  It’s true.
  • The physiological.  Breastfeeding is great for the metabolism.  Again, I concur.  I admit to being jealous of my friends who shed major poundage strictly through breastfeeding.
  • The practical. When breastfeeding, the milk is always warm and ready to go.  There is no preparing the formula, warming the bottle, etc.  Again, true.  This is where I start to part ways, though.  A breastfeeding woman – unless she is pumping and delivering the milk through a bottle – cannot let someone else feed her children.  She cannot leave her child more than two or three hours before it’s time to feed again.  I enjoy letting my husband or the grandmas feed my kid.  They feel useful; I get a break.
  • The mental. I’ve heard several women say that breastfeeding helped them “bond” with their children, that formula feeding doesn’t provide that same bonding opportunity.  Fool, please.  There are many ways to bond with your children.  We’re still cuddling and talking during feeding times, even if the child isn’t physically latched on to me during feeding time.

Before I decided to formula feed, I consulted a very wise woman – my mother.  She reminded me that I was formula fed and I turned out just fine.  I’m incredibly healthy and have been my entire life.  I feel like my mom and I are bonded fairly well.

I tend to think this whole debate tends to boil down to this: mind your own business.  I believe that this is a prime example of how we spend too much time worrying about what other people do and not enough time worrying about ourselves.  This topic is just one way that women judge and criticize other women’s decisions.  Let’s use that energy for positive outcomes.

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Entry filed under: Life in general.

Do the next thing. I just thought this was funny.

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