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Stop Telling Me to Breastfeed!

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The fact of the matter is, it's a woman's choice. It is not my mother's choice, it's not the pediatrician's choice, and it isn't your choice. It is MY choice. So leave the breastfeeding decision up to me, OK?

women holding you must breastfeed sign

Momlogic's Talitha: It's incredible to methat sucha personal topic -- like breastfeeding -- can have such a public outpouring. Frankly, I am beyond over it. I cannot tell you how many times I have had to explain my uncertainty about breastfeeding -- especially to doctors: "Can I ask WHY?" they ask me. I always feel like my answer isn't good enough for them, as they then follow up with: "Well, it's definitely best for the baby, that's for sure, so even if you can just do it for X amount of time, that would be great. Even if you could just do it for six months, or three months!" Wait, did you not hear what I just said?

It'sthe parents' decision how they want to raise their children, and it'sthe parents' decision how they want to feed them. I don't comment on what you are putting in your own mouth, even though it is ridiculously unhealthy. What gives people the right to even ask "Can I ask why?" No, you cannot. It will be simply a decision we make based on what is best for our family.

The other day, as my husband and I were meeting our baby's potential pediatrician, he stuffed a bunch of leaflets in my hands. On the cover: "Our office is pro-breastfeeding!" Immediately, I had a judgment against the office. It's like going to an OB/GYN appointment and finding, displayed on their door, "We are Pro-Life!" This is the patient's business, not the doctor's. As we sat down, thedoctor goes: "So I assume you will be breastfeeding," and without waiting for a response, continued his speech about office procedures and vaccinations, etc. I wanted to say, "Excuse me! I assume you feed your children only organic food, and I assume you don't eat any fast food, and I assume you encourage your kids to exercise, and ..." Why are you assuming? As with whatever happens in your household, what happens in mine is my business, not yours.

By the way, I am not an uneducated mom, OK? I know the benefits of breastfeeding. But how do you know that I haven't tried before and it didn't work for me? How do you know what my family's financial situation is and who will remain at home with our newborn?! How do you know I am even capable of breastfeeding? How dare you assume!

No matter what I decide to do (and in case you're wondering, I really don't even know yet), I am going to play it by ear, see how things go. But no matter what, I'll try to be the best mom I can be. And isn't that the most important thing?!

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59 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous August 27, 2009, 8:41 AM

THANK YOU! i couldn’t have put it better myself!!!

Emma August 27, 2009, 9:15 AM

oh wow well here is a refreshing new topic that has not been talked to death about. How original!!! I have a feeling that this is going to bring some very nice and civilized comments very soooon

Monique  August 27, 2009, 9:42 AM

It sounds like you are having a discussion with yourself. Like you are feeling guilty because of your preposition on not wanting to breastfeed. If you are an educated mother, as you mentioned, then why are you getting so offended by the doctors? If my doctor was insisting on something it was going to be good for my baby, I would not get offended even if I disagreed. I breastfed for 18 months and even though it was a super smooth experience for me, it is a personal choice, like you said.

likethis August 27, 2009, 9:49 AM

The physicians are interested because it is in the baby’s best health interest to be breast fed. So, it would make sense they would be pro-breast feeding. The best physician/health care provider will see the patient with a holistic view, and that does include what they eat, where they live, family situation, etc. Just as with ourselves, a baby’s health is related to their environment. I mention this so you may be able to lower some of your defenses about the perceived “noseyness” (for lack of a better term) of your physician and health care providers.

Yes, it is also true that parents make decisions for their children. Sometimes these are good decisions, often bad. It just is the way it is, like it or not.

Obviously, you are aware of the benefits of breastfeeding from increased immunity to better health and less risks in the child’s adult life.

And, yes, the choice is yours. Our children are totally dependent on the adults that birth and raise them. May we all really do the best, not just what we may perceive is the best or what was done for or to us.

I wish you all the best.

Tess August 27, 2009, 10:31 AM

THANK YOU!!!! I NEVER breastfed, and all 4 of my children are just fine! That is what formula is for. I really and truly do applaud women who breastfeed their children, that is great, but I personally find it repulsive (for me). Just because you don’t breastfeed, doesn’t make you a bad mother, or affect your ability to bond wit your child. I have a close and loving relationship with all of my children. If you want to breast feed go ahead, but remember,it is a CHOICE!

Leslie August 27, 2009, 10:52 AM

Thank you! I actually had a great experience with my ob/gyn and pediatrician but I get so tired of other moms and the media forcing the breastfeeding issue. I actually wasn’t able to breastfeed because of a medical condition and for the first month or more I felt like I was somehow a bad mommy because if I cared more (or something like that) I’d try harder to breastfeed. What’s important is that your baby is well taken care of and is getting bonding time with you. My daughter is almost 2 now and I can tell you she is extremely healthy, gorgeous and just a joy to be around. I don’t see any indication that formula has been a detriment to her.

daycare teacher August 27, 2009, 10:58 AM

AMEN!! Seriously, I worked in daycare forever. Breast fed kids are no healthier/smarter/more well adjusted than formula fed babies. If anything they seemed to be more cranky. I haven’t seen any real life proof that it makes any difference. SO bf if you want or use formula - what ever works - it really makes NO difference at all.

Thank goodness my dr. wasn’t all militant about bf’ing. He just said “Do what’s best for you as a mother because that is what’s best for the baby” and that’s the truth.

Pamala August 27, 2009, 12:43 PM

I’m lucky that my pediatrician wasn’t for forcing mom’s to breastfeed because it would have killed my child. I’ve never felt guilty about not wanting to breastfeed. My child is healthier because I didn’t and if people choose to judge or whatever then so be it, their issue not mine.

Sara August 27, 2009, 12:44 PM

Thankfully our pediatrician was supportive either way. After my child’s birth it was a disaster. Hounding from the nurses in the hospital, snippy judgmental remarks from breastfeeding moms. It was never ending. There are reasons that it just DOES NOT WORK for some people! Leave people to make their own choice without judgment. Oh, and the funny thing is that I run a daycare and often times I’ve noticed that the moms who were militant breast feeders are the ones later on always swinging by McDonalds on their way home from work. Nice! They obsessed over feeding their infant the “best” but often they are the ones that later on stuff the junk in their child’s mouth. Do I harass the moms that feed their kids crap? Nope, their business. I feed my children an extremely healthy, organic diet and am extremely careful about food choices. Do I think that’s best? Yes. Do I shove it in other people’s faces? NOPE! It is THEIR OWN DECISION!

Roxanne August 27, 2009, 1:14 PM

It’s silly that you would be so upset about your doctors being concerned about your child’s well being, because that’s all they’re doing. Comparing a declaration of being pro-breastfeeding to being pro-life is such an unfair comparison it’s not even funny. They’re trying to be encouraging. Sure yeah whatever it’s your choice, but guess what? You still need to be a responsible mother, and the doctors are just trying to help you out with that. And no, of course I’m not saying that moms who don’t breastfeed aren’t responsible. I’m saying that there are a million studies that prove starting newborns on breastmilk is 100% the most healthiest choice. It is not the same as an adult eating fast food or not. Having said all that, I have empathy that you would feel bullied sometimes by doctors, who have a tendency to do that, no matter what the topic.

Grace August 27, 2009, 1:37 PM

I agree with some of the comments your saying but it’s been great for me and baby.We,been doing this for 9 month and by a year I hope to stop but my Dr Miranda was the best Peds he never assume anything only hope.

colerose August 27, 2009, 1:52 PM

You go girl!!!!

Shelly August 27, 2009, 1:55 PM

I agree that it is your choice, and your choice alone. But I think that it is a little ridiculous that you had a judgement against the doctor’s office simply because they proclaimed themselves pro-breastfeeding. In a culture where bf’ing moms still do not get enough support, and where doctors are so incredibly under-educated when it comes to bf’ing, its nice to see a doctor who is supporting moms that choose to breastfeed. Finally, a doctor who’s only solution to latch problems won’t be “Here, take some formula home.” Yes, its your choice, but don’t get your panties in a twist just because people want to encourage you with breastfeeding. Big deal.

meghan August 27, 2009, 2:10 PM

it’s NOT a choice…it’s your baby’s right to have the nutrition they are meant to have. formula is inferior.

A Johnson August 27, 2009, 2:18 PM

No doc should “assume” your choice since formula babies aren’t walking around radioactive. They should wait for an answer, perhaps try to change your mind by telling you the beneits and then leaving you the hell alone after that no matter what you pick. I think this mom was saying how she felt at that moment and I don’t think she is saying run away from this practice and their pushy brochures. She spoke of her very own experience. I support BOTH options as I’ve used both for each kid I bonded with PERFECTLY, whether bottle or nipple!

It’s not some unknown fact that breastmilk is THE BEST. Doctors know it and mom’s know it. Until reports surface the formula-fed babies can rotate their heads “Exorcist”-style, why do people pass judgements?! And they do pass judgements all over the place, from right in your face to blogs.

To say the bond is disrupted is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Adoptive parents can’t bond? Father’s can’t bond? A mom with a medical ailment preventing breastfeeding can’t bond as well? Bollocks!!

I’m sick of the Bottle vs. Breast as well as Working vs. Stay At Home battles. Shut up, women! Support, no matter what the choice, should be the main focus, not look down smugly at your fellow mom because she does things opposite of you! Aren’t we supposed to be the smarter sex?

Come down off the soapbox and take a chill pill. Until formula becomes illegal or causes heart failure, save the judging and do something positive. Promote breast milk all you want, yes!, but there’s no need to look down on formula moms. Never!

I support BOTH options and all moms busting their butts to raise wonderful little ones, our future. Parenting can be stressful enough without people breathing down your neck over milk choices. Get real!

Jill August 27, 2009, 2:42 PM

Healthy mom=healthy baby. Something sorely overlooked is the use of medication that prohibits breastfeeding(BF). I have anxiety/depression and met with my ob/gyn a year before getting pregnant to discuss my options. Staying on meds meant a healthy, happy me, but no BF. I always meant to BF. It was heartbreaking. I mourned, and I moved on. I found people very understanding, although not as judgmental as most magazine articles and blogs make them out to be. I now have a healthy 2 year old who’s been sick once and has a voracious appetite for life and almost everything else! Thank goodness I didn’t BF - he would’ve sucked me dry! If my BF experience taught me anything, it was to roll with the punches. It was a good way to start.

Xtina August 27, 2009, 2:48 PM

I think breastfeeding is wonderful! But seriously, why so angry? It makes me wonder how you react to other silly situations. How classy!

Anonymous August 27, 2009, 2:55 PM

or pediatrician did ask how we were feeding, but only to give us the appropriate bag of goodies.

Maysa August 27, 2009, 2:57 PM

Breastfeeding is not a CHOICE, its your baby’s RIGHT. Unless you physically can’t breastfeed you should at the very least be TRYING to. Why is it so hard for women to understand this? It is scientifically proven that formula is inferior to breastmilk. Why wouldn’t you want to give your child the best???

If you want to bring “your financial situation” into this, breastfeeding is a lot cheaper than formula feeding. Even if you have to go back to work you can pump, or at the very least nurse part-time.

I don’t understand why people are having children when they don’t want to at least try to do what is BEST for them. I understand stuff happens. I will be the first to admit, breastfeeding isn’t easy, but for god sakes, at least try.

I, for one, am glad to hear that there are pediatricians out there like the one you encountered. Like someone else said, it is your child’s pediatrician’s business whether or not you breastfeed. Scientific studies have shown that breastfed babies are healthier. I’m puzzled as to why you wouldn’t want your doctor to help you give your child the healthiest life possible. Doctors are in the healthcare industry, why is it so offensive that they’d want you to provide your child with the healthiest nutrition possible?

cassie August 27, 2009, 3:18 PM

I would have thanked my lucky stars for a pediatrician like that. I constantly ran into doctors trying to get me to supplement and to switch to formula.

But I can totally understand why you’re upset. Its obviously not because you’re defensive and guilty. It must be because those horrible doctors want you to, GOD FORBID, do what’s best ft your baby.

[eye roll]

Women have fought for years to have more support and education about breastfeeding. This is a GREAT thing.

I am so happy your doctors encouraged breastfeeding. GOOD FOR THEM!

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