It’s national breastfeeding week and I’m all for education around breastfeeding, celebrating those who were able to do it and encouraging those who are struggling. However, what I can’t get on board with is all the armchair activists who feel it’s necessary to point out the failures of those who bottlefeed. So here’s my 2 cents.
Luke never latched due to a severe tongue tie which, if I’m being honest, required surgery. For a few reasons, we chose not to get the surgery and opted instead to have it lasered at a specialist dentist. As a result, I sat on the end of a pump for 6 months before finally introducing formula (for my mental health). I never had a problem with supply. If anything, I had an oversupply. We stocked the freezer and after a while, I started to resent Luke around feed times. I hated having to pump. He wasn’t a sleeper and woke every 3 hours to guzzle down the milk I had so painstakingly (and painfully) pumped. I’d burp him, lay him back down, attach myself to the pump, then crawl back into bed only to be woken again 45 minutes later. Wash, rinse and repeat in a cycle that had no ending that I could see. Joe would be asleep in bed, blissfully unaware that I was sitting on the couch muttering curses and sending killer vibes his way.
I had a lady make a comment in a cafe when I was bottle feeding. She had no idea what was in the bottle. She had no idea about my circumstances. And she had no idea how deep her comments struck. Depression, anxiety, exhaustion and huge expectations…it all wreaks havoc with parents and your throwaway comment has the ability to make or break someone’s day.
We know breast is best. We don’t need you, kind sir, to stop and tell me off for using a bottle. Your nipples are your nipples and I sure as shit don’t care to tell you what to do with them.
If you see someone feeding their child and want to comment, comment on how beautiful it is to see the baby gazing lovingly into the parents eyes. Tell them they’re doing an amazing job and that the close contact they’re experiencing is doing wonders for the baby’s emotional growth. Tell them they might be exhausted but that to remember that these early years are such a short snapshot and they will change so fast. Tell them that even though they may feel like a fish out of water, like they’re failing or like they’ve made a huge over estimation in their ability to raise this baby, that they’re doing amazing job. It’s none of our business how other parents choose to feed their kids. Let’s just make sure they know they’re supported in whatever decision they make.