Why are mothers still, to this very day, shamed for mothering the way they choose? In most cases, moms are just trying to do their very best. There is no handbook on parenting. When a friend or colleague gets pregnant, I’m aware of their reaction when telling me they choose to bottle feed as if I will shun them and spew off a laundry list of health benefits from breastfeeding. But I don’t. Why? Because it’s a mother’s right to choose how to care for her child. And in many cases, moms have made the decision to bottle or breastfeed long before the baby is born. The benefits of breastfeeding to mom and baby are well-researched and documented. Most of the time, they are already aware of this. I will always promote breast first. But I can equally respect the mother who has made the informed decision to choose to bottle feed—whether it’s for health or personal reasons. Moms who come to me for support have made the choice to breastfeed, or at the very least, try. And just as moms who bottlefeed should not be shamed for their decision, nor asked to feed their child in private, moms who choose to breastfeed should not be shamed for their choice nor asked to feed their child in private.
Bottle-feeder moms may feel pressured by breast-feeder moms, and in turn, I’ve noticed an influx of shaming happening both ways. Stories with negative tones that start with “this is why I bottle fed my child…” and that have a whole lot of “...and I did the right thing for my child therefore bottle-feeding is better than breastfeeding”. Or opposite stories about breastfeeding. Since when did there become such a battle of bottle-feed moms vs breast-feed moms? We’re moms…we’re in this together. Those middle of the night diaper blow-outs that you try to change with all the lights off so you don’t wake the little one up? Guess what—you’re not alone, regardless of how you fed your child. Stop shaming each other. Beyond anything we nourish their bodies with, babies need love to nourish their souls, and as long as they get that along with whatever you decide to put in their tummies, they’ll be okay. And so will you, mom.