Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Why is there no Bottle Feeding Awareness Month?
This month is Breast Feeding Awareness month and because I am 17 weeks pregnant I am a little more hormonal that I should have been.
Don't get me wrong, I support breast feeding, but I also support any way you choose to feed your baby. Whether that's breast, bottle, pump, tube- it doesn't matter as long as your baby is getting fed.
A photographer posted some rather beautiful pictures of women breast feeding a day or so before BFAM and I commented how lovely they were and inquired whether she had any of mothers bottle feeding their babies, or if she could-in the future- take some. As a mother who struggled with BF and wound up bottle feeding all three of her kids, sometimes I feel sad or left out of the community of women who are able to feed their baby by breast.
The women who took the pictures instantly put up a bottle feeding picture for me, which I expressed gratitude for. Immediately after another mother told me asking about bottle feeding during Breast Feeding Awareness month is like going to a Black history month page and asking why no one is celebrating White history. Not only was this in poor taste, but it's not accurate and not similar AT ALL.
So many mothers struggle with breast feeding. It hurts, they don't produce enough, it's time-consuming, they don't like it...etc...etc.. There are many reasons for a woman to not BF and that is her decision. One she should not be shamed for or pressured about. I can't tell you how many times I have been told, "you really should breast feed, breast is best." By women (some even nurses) who don't know me, don't know my kids and certainly, don't know the struggles I've had while trying to breast feed.
Bottle feeding is not only easier for me and more convenient (I work and have multiple children) but also prevents me from feeling like a failure. I don't produce enough milk to feed my children and my nipples are very small which means I have to use a plastic nipple shield over my tiny ones to help my babies latch. This is very time consuming and uncomfortable.
I understand why we need breast feeding awareness, when moms are being asked to feed in public toilets this is a HUGE problem. Breast feeding is normal and natural. However, instead of one month totally devoted to breast feeding awareness, we need a week/month that simply celebrates all ways of feeding your baby. So that no one group of mothers (or even single dads!) need feel shame or left out.
No one celebrates Bottle Feeding Awareness, ( and I honestly don't expect this to ever be a thing) us bottle feeding moms are ignored at best and looked at with scorn at worse. No one wants to hear our stories or see beautiful pictures of us with our babies. Everyone talks about how breast is best and look at all the great things your child gets if they are breastfed, making it sound like bottle fed kids are lacking. What we really need to be doing is supporting all mothers no matter what way they choose to feed their babies.
There is no us and them- it is all-inclusive; feeding our babies in that way which is best for our families.
This blog is all about how mothers need to be supportive of each other and not tear each other down. Bottle feeders need to know that breast feeding moms are also treated like crap and breast feeding moms need to not assume they are the only ones being given negative comments.
Here are some links for moms who feel like I do.
Fearless Formula Feeder
Fed Is Best
Pictures of all kinds of moms feeding their babies
Posted by Graveyard Rose