After a traumatic delivery, a nurse hands you your beautiful baby girl. It’s time for her first feeding. You try to get her to latch, but she absolutely refuses to. You try again and again, but after several attempts, you become frustrated and weepy. You make the decision to formula feed instead.
There are mothers who can relate to the story above. They’ve tried breastfeeding their baby but were unable to get the baby to latch. There are other mothers who can breastfeed but discontinue before the recommended 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding. Other mothers are unable to breastfeed because of lactation failure (inadequate or absence of milk flow), a medical issue, or simply by choice.
The benefits of breastfeeding is what drives health professionals to push “breast is best,” but doing so may guilt mothers who are not breastfeeding. Bottle/formula feeding shame is just as bad as the shaming that breastfeeding mothers experience while breastfeeding in public or at work.
Although antibodies found in breast milk are not in formula, formula can provide a baby with nutrients (protein, fat, and vitamins) necessary for their development. Formula feeding may also work best for families because it is convenient, may require less feedings, and mothers who formula feed don’t have to worry about the effects of what they are consuming in regard to their baby’s nutrition.
Contrary to popular opinion, breastfeeding is not a sign of fidelity nor does it identify you as a mother. 1 Weigh the pros and cons and figure out what works best for you and your baby. There is no shame in bottle/formula feeding.
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La Leche League. (2018). How Often Does Breastfeeding Really Fail? Retrieved from https://www.llli.org/how-often-does-breastfeeding-really-fail/#:~:text=In%20my%20practice%20as%20an,that%20only%20one%20in%20a