“‘Are you breastfeeding???’
That’s the face of a well-fed baby. Does it matter whether I nursed my daughter, or pumped, or gave her formula? NO. But for some reason, that’s what so many people want to know.
As people smile at my baby at the grocery store check-out or the aisles of Target, strangers ask the same question, ‘Are you breastfeeding your baby?’
Since when it this OK to ask?
Here’s the thing—my baby has had it all. She was nourished with formula in the first week of life until my milk came in. She’s been fed by the breast, and she’s been fed by the bottle. All that matters is that she is healthy.
There’s such a debate surrounding formula fed versus breast fed. Well guess what? That’s none of your business what a mother chooses to do. Maybe she can’t produce enough milk to feed her child. Maybe it’s painful to nurse. Maybe the baby won’t latch on. Maybe she doesn’t feel the connection that other mothers feel nursing. Maybe it’s too time consuming. It doesn’t matter.
I was recently having lunch with my family when our baby started getting fussy. I reached into my bag to grab a bottle, and I wondered if others would judge me as I fed my daughter a bottle, not the boob. Truth be told, I pumped at home because I haven’t mastered nursing out in public and I probably never will.
How we feed our babies is not anyone’s business.
Even my older daughter, who was born at 22 weeks gestation, needed both breast milk and formula to stay alive. She was so tiny that my milk wasn’t enough, we had to fortify it with extra calories…in the form of formula.
As a mother of a baby, it takes so much strength and patience in those early days. Between the lack of sleep and the newborn cries, the last thing we need is the added stress of trying to produce enough milk. We don’t need to feel guilt if we can’t produce milk, or simply choose not to.
Moms, you do you. Choose whatever you feel best for yourself and your baby. Don’t listen to others. And as women, we need to show support for each other.
Let’s stop with the ‘Breast is best.’ We need to remember that ‘fed is best.’
And for the record, I was formula fed as a baby…and I turned out just fine.”
This story was written by Stacey Skrysak, an award winning television journalist based in Illinois. You can follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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