Not because my breasts didn’t work.
Not because of any meds I was taking.
And not because I was suffering postpartum depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress.
They were fed formula because well before they arrived, it is what I chose.
I’ve been sitting on this post for a couple weeks. For one because I know I already write a lot of “Mommy” stuff over here and I wasn’t sure this had a place here. But I have also been avoiding writing it because the entire thing makes me so angry, it’s hard to type out a post that is not just a ranty ragey mess. I get so passionate that my fingers fly faster than my brain can form cohesive points and counter-points.
I am not pro- nor anti-breastfeeding.
I am not pro- nor anti-formula feeding.
I am pro FEED YOUR BABY. (Unless of course you are feeding your baby cyanide. I am not pro that kind of feeding, obviously).
Why is this argument even a thing? Good old Mayor Bloomberg of New York City stirred the ever boiling Mommy Pot a couple weeks ago with his newest initiative for NYC hospitals: Latch on NYC.
The initiative is to increase/promote breastfeeding.
I can stand behind that.
However, it wants to do so by discouraging and LECTURING mothers if they ask for a bottle.
See, now this is where I start getting all pissed off.
Since this shiz hit the fan a couple weeks ago, I have found myself a lone duck (or at least it feels that way) in a firing range of EXTREMELY PASSIONATE breastfeeding
nuts advocates who say I am WRONG WRONG WRONG for being opposed to this. They say BREAST IS BEST! and that I am feeding my sons poison.
Someone even used the argument that the initiative should take it a step further and make formula prescription only.
See? Just typing that made me need an hour break from this post.
I 100% support my friends who have chosen to breastfeed. I give them big fist bumps and hugs when they meet goals they have set for themselves. I hold them and listen when things don’t go the way they hoped.
I did my research and understand the benefits of a healthy mom breastfeeding for a healthy baby.
I also made the decision not to breastfeed.
I don’t really think it’s anyone’s business why I chose not to use my breasts to feed my children. My husband and I discussed it at length. I talked about it with my doctors (yes, plural). And this is our choice.
Now, I don’t live in NYC and my OBGYN and hospital are almost unbelievably supportive of all the choices moms have when it comes to birthing and feeding their newborns. When I hear so many horror stories of birth plans and pain management and feeding support gone wrong, I send up a prayer of thanks for my experiences.
But let’s pretend I did give birth in NYC under this initiative.
I planned to bottle feed.
I also planned to birth vaginally, but that didn’t work out so well.
And I for SURE didn’t plan to have the postpartum depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress that I ended up with.
So let’s say the only thing I knew I was doing right was feeding my baby. I could do that. Bottle in hand, he and I were actually ok.
But what if EVERY. SINGLE. TIME I needed to feed my son, I had to ask for a bottle (in my situation, because they knew I was bottle feeding, premixed bottles of the brand I requested was stocked in my labor/delivery/recovery suite). And each time I buzzed the nurse to tell her I needed a bottle for my baby, I received a lecture that, Yes, I could have it, but really I should be breast-feeding.
No one explicitly tells me I am doing it wrong. Not in those words.
But to a new mom who just had absolutely all of her plans and expectations go out the window, and already feels like a failure, this “talking to” as Mayor Bloomberg calls it, is just another reminder that she doesn’t have it all together. That maybe she is doing something wrong.
It’s a healthy choice. It is.
My sons are thriving, hardly ever sick, and very smart.
They are getting all the nutrients.
Formula is a healthy choice.
Breast milk is a healthy choice (given you’re not on drugs).
Feed your baby. Mind your business.