I have recently encountered some pretty judgmental moms. It kind of breaks my heart, to be honest. Why is it ok for a mom to whip her boob out to feed her baby but when I take a formula bottle out of my diaper bag, there is an instant look of “oh my gosh, you are poisoning your poor little human.” That is hardly the case. I was formula fed, and I’m fine. I mean, if you know me personally then you know I’m a little off the wall, but I’m healthy and perfectly fine. My mom didn’t “poison” me with formula. Quite the opposite, as I was in the gifted program throughout my school years, enrolled in AP classes in high school, and graduated from the University of Miami on time while also working full time in real estate. I’m by no means a genius, but I do not think that formula had any adverse affects on my brain or body.
Before I was a mom, I bought my best friend a breast pump off of her registry as her baby shower gift. Once her daughter was born, she tried to breast feed from the breast, and was unsuccessful at it. I asked her if she was going to pump, and she told me she didn’t really want to discuss it, while fighting back tears. This was my best friend who didn’t want to talk about a topic with me? I was taken aback, since we can usually talk about anything and everything, but I didn’t press the issue. I didn’t completely understand the emotions she was going through as a woman with a new baby, since I was still childless.
When I had our first son, Little J, I tried and tried without success to feed him from my breast. Unfortunately it didn’t work, and I called my best friend to vent and cry to her about it. I then understood what she felt like when her daughter was born. It feels like failure, and it didn’t make me happy that I couldn’t breast feed my much awaited new son. I ended up pumping for a little over six months. I did the best I could. It gets exhausting and takes a toll on your body and mind, pumping seven times a day to keep up your supply. I remember when I had to start supplementing with formula, and I cried. I stared at the back of the formula container for quite some time, and I sobbed. When I would buy formula in the store I would be so embarrassed, and hide it in the shopping cart under other groceries. I felt shame for not keeping up with breast feeding.
Then I realized that a happy, healthy mother is the most important thing for a child to have. A stable, sane mom who can take care of her baby. There is no reason for a mother to feel shameful for feeding her baby. Whether the mother is in a public place with an exposed breast or in a store buying formula, neither of those moms should feel embarrassed or upset for providing their child with vital nutrients.