Thursday, August 5, 2010

For my formula feeding friends and family

I don't make it much of a secret that I have had a long, successful, satisfying breastfeeding relationship with SchmoopyBoy. (In fact, much longer than I had ever planned or expected). Nonetheless, although I think breastfeeding is great and I support the right of every woman to breastfeed in public and so on and so forth, it has never really occurred to me to consider myself a lactivist and I don't blog about breastfeeding much.

One of the reasons for this is that I personally know a number of women who, despite their best intentions to breastfeed their babies, had serious problems with breastfeeding and ended up turning to formula. I know some people would say, oh they just didn't have the right support, they gave up too soon, etc, etc. But I personally just don't see where it's my place to judge what is trying hard enough. Is torn and bleeding nipples, while simultaneously suffering from thrush (which I've heard basically feels like glass shards being pushed through your breasts every time they express milk), with a baby who was born tongue tied AND has a recessed jaw that would require extensive physical therapy in order to ever be able to develop a proper latch enough for one mother to bear before it is "ok" for her to stop trying to breastfeed? (True story, I'm not exaggerating this one woman's situation) There are so many reasons women stop trying to breastfeed an infant, and most of the women I know who stopped did so with regret and sadness and disappointment.

I have respect and sympathy for these women, not to mention they are family and friends for whom I care deeply. I'm not particularly interested in making anyone feel excluded who visits this site, so I don't post more about breastfeeding. I really liked Hobo Mama's post, formula feeders and bottle users welcome, which is my link for today. I tend to think a lot of 'natural parenting' sites can be a little exclusive to formula feeding mothers. This post is very inviting and welcoming and compassionate and lovely. OK, I'll stop gushing about it. Just go and read.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for the link, and for sharing your position. I love how sensitive you are to the friends you know who've had problems breastfeeding. This quote: "But I personally just don't see where it's my place to judge what is trying hard enough." Yes! I've had it fairly easy when it comes to breastfeeding, and the couple times I didn't nearly did me in. For a woman to go through what you describe — she doesn't need guilt; she did what was best for her and her baby.