Please don't think my blog is going to become this place of hashing out mommy war issues.... I totally hate that this is on my mind and that I'm yet again blogging about this. But... we are in the car and I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow that I'm dreading (UGH) and the kids are quiet so my mind is racing and thinking of all sorts of things.
This will probably all be so boggled. I hope it makes sense. I started to think about this whole "breast vs bottle" war (which IMO isn't really a war just a mommy issue thing and I think really just stems from insecurity or a sense of being shamed by others that do differently) that seems to be so prevalent the past few years online.
Let me start out by sharing about my friends and group of friends I associate with. I would say a good 90% of my friends breastfeed. And they have never, ever made me feel insecure about my choices to feed my children. I'm super super blessed (why should I even have to say that... as if people should ever have friends that aren't supportive???) to have non-judgemental friends even though they choose a different route of feeding their babies. And I have never judged them (or at least I hope they never feel I have!) because I support however works best for them. I know that insecurity is not coming from my group of friends. And, knowing that most of my friends do breastfeed, I hear their insecurities about breastfeeding in public (ie... their cries to normalize breastfeeding), which I think is crazy that anyone should care how a person is feeding their child in public or in private.... as long as that baby is being fed.
This all made me start to think... WHERE is this insecurity coming from? Why are we mothers, who are all doing what works best for our families and our babies, feeling so insecure and "shamed" by our choices? If it isn't coming from our core social circle (which, in my case, is mingled with nursing and formula feeding moms), WHERE are we feeling it from? And WHY?
I wanted to ask my readers that. Leave me a comment. No judgment from me nor anyone else reading. Did you feel insecure about how you chose to feed your baby? Do you feel the need to defend your choices?
Did you feel shamed for nursing/nursing in public? Who, or what, made you feel most insecure?
Did you feel shamed for choosing to formula feed? Who, or what, made you feel most insecure about that?
Recently there was an article about a sports stadium creating a "baby nursing room" for nursing mothers. My first thought "Cool!" My second thought "I wonder if it is only for nursing moms, or if bottle feeding moms can use it too?" WHY did my mind race there? Why was I feeling like it was something that any mother feeding her child couldn't utilize? THEN I read the comments. I expected to find moms saying "YAY! Awesome! A comfy place for us to nurse if we have a distracted baby and don't want to nurse in our seats or feel like we are shunned to the bathrooms (EWW)" I saw comments like "Why should we be confined to a room to feed our babies?" and "Why can't we feed our babies at our seats like bottle feeding moms?" WHERE did this come from? WHY were mothers feeling defensive about something created for them to use, for their comfort? Who was making them feel like they couldn't feed their child in the stadium seat? (And another question... damn I would so not even want to take a baby to a game HAHAH!)
I'm just so curious as to where it is coming from. In my experience, it is not my social circle. It isn't my family. I feel a lot of insecurity and shame coming from my doctor, as well as the media and people who don't know me and feel the need to question why I formula feed.
Let me explain further.... With my first child I wanted desperately to breastfeed and had no intentions of formula feeding. Part of it was a financial thing, and part of it was that my husband has stomach issues and I assumed if I fed Porter what was "natural" he'd have a safer bet of not genetically getting those tummy issues (he doesn't have tummy issues FYI). BF'ing didn't work out and I had about a week of awful sadness that I had to formula feed. And then I got over it and never really thought about it again. I never felt insecure to take out a bottle in public. Ever.
With Hudson, pretty much the same.... I decided during my pregnancy I'd formula feed. I wavered back and forth but ultimately I felt like bottle feeding worked out great for us and I was comfortable with it and that's what we did. Porter was smart, healthy and loved me and so would my 2nd child. I think I briefly remember being asked in the hospital what I was planning on doing and there was never any "grilling" about it. They asked, I told them, they brought me formula.
With Amelia... I think "times" had been changing. I was noticing more online about "baby friendly hospitals" (as if feeding your child formula was not baby friendly?) and I didn't feel pressure from the doctor or at the hospital to nurse (because again, I'd decided to bottle feed before I had her). However, after she came home from the hospital I had numerous people (not super close to me or anyone who knew my reasons to bottle feed) ask me if I was nursing... or why I wasn't. It kind of took me by surprise. I mean, it really took me by surprise. Why was it their business? And why were people asking? I'd never experienced that before. And thus, I kind of became a bit insecure about my choices, even though I knew without a doubt my children would grow and develop and be happy and healthy and bonded and brilliant regardless of if they nursed from me.
Baby #4... well, I'm feeling the pressure/judgement even more. The more I see in the media about breastfeeding and how breastfed babies are smarter, healthier and more bonded to their parents, the more insecure I feel about my choices even though I KNOW and have living proof that my formula fed children are smart, healthy and bonded to both myself and my husband.
It seems like in the past 3 years or so it has become so prevalent to pit breastfeeding against formula feeding and in social media everyone comes out and chants for their "side" which I feel makes everyone feel insecure. I've never felt breastfeeding wasn't normal. I've never felt formula feeding wasn't normal. Until the past few years, I always viewed them as a NORMAL way to feed your child. Whatever works for you, your baby and as long as your baby is happy, healthy and growing why should it matter??
WHEW. Anyhow. I'd love to hear from you. No judgement at all. I want to know where your insecurites come from. Is it the media? Your doctor? Local businesses? Places that have nursing stations/rooms? Places that don't? Your friends?