Judgment Day

By Tracy G. Cassels

Breastmilk is better than formula.  Babies aren’t getting nearly as much touch as they need.  Co-sleeping can help your baby stay safe if done safely.  Scheduled-feeding decreases your child’s intelligence.  Not responding to your infant’s distress cries has deleterious effects on their neural development and sense of security.  Not breastfeeding can increase your child’s risk of developing certain types of childhood cancer.  Children whose parents are responsive to them grow to be more secure and independent than children who are left to be independent at a younger age.  Are you offended yet?  Because I could go on as there’s so much more we know about ways to parent and the outcomes associated with them.  I don’t say these things to hurt you or to make you feel “guilty”, I say them because they’re true.

So I have to ask myself – why are you so offended?  Why are you saying I’m trying to guilt you?  That I’m a breastfeeding nazi or some other ridiculous moniker?  Why do you need to mount a campaign claiming you’ve been “made” to feel like a bad parent because I simply tell it like it is?  What you forget is that only you can allow yourself to feel guilt, and if you know in your heart of hearts that what you’re doing is good, then the guilt won’t follow.  You may feel annoyance when others try to tell you that you’re doing a disservice to your child, but guilt won’t be an emotion mixed in there because you know what the outcomes are for the way in which you’re parenting.  But to try and shame me, you rally around “special” cases as if it is they who I might be offending when in reality it is yourself because you have a choice and I bet you’re questioning that choice with every word I utter.  I know parents who couldn’t breastfeed and they aren’t offended when people talk about the benefits of breastmilk; they acknowledge them and acknowledge that it was unfortunately they couldn’t do it.  You don’t want to hear it not because you’re thinking of them but because it makes you feel bad.  So you say I’m trying to make you feel bad, but I’m not.

You, on the other hand, seem to be judging yourself.  Do you think it’s because deep down you realize that what you’re doing doesn’t seem to be quite right?  That listening to your child cry endlessly for you while you wait in the hall strikes something inside you that says ‘This isn’t good’?  That when you open up that can of formula and look at the processed powder that smells like something from a factory, you realize this isn’t what your child was meant to eat and you know that in your case, you have other options?  You so want to believe that what you’re doing is right that you decide to blame others for making you feel bad when you start to feel the hint that it may be wrong and so you crusade against mommy judgments and tell me I’m wrong for stating what’s known.

I have to wonder, though, are you also going to rally against the person that tells me I’m doing my child a disservice by co-sleeping with her until she’s ready to leave the bed?  Or what about the advice columnists or doctors who claim it’s akin to child abuse to breastfeed a child past the age of one?  What about the people who say that my children won’t learn to be independent if I keep comforting them when they’re upset?  Are you jumping down their throats for making judgments?  I didn’t think so.  And yet, these comments are far more common and filled with far more vitriol than anything I could say.  But you don’t care about their comments because they don’t make you rethink your choices.  And yes, I say choices because it’s when we have choices that we can feel guilt.  We can feel sad about our situation when there’s no choice, but not guilt.

So I ask of you to please stop this crazy judgment business.  No one can judge you and make you feel guilty unless you let them.  If you used formula and know that was your only choice, why are you trying to stop people from talking about the benefits of breastfeeding?  Why aren’t you fighting to ensure that other kids have more choices than just formula?  Or at least allow those of us who want to fight for that have a chance to do so without being called names?  It’s time to stop trying to prevent the truth from coming out because you don’t want to hear it because that’s a type of judgment that does no one any good.

Comments

  1. says

    Amen and amen and amen! Verily, verily you speak! (Sorry, I’m a little punch drunk from lack of sleep tonight.)
    Great post Tracy, and so very true. People shouldn’t blame the messenger if they don’t like the truth of the message. Guilt is an internal feeling, it’s not caused by someone else. And you did this with much more tact than I would have managed.

  2. says

    Perfectly said! There’s so much talk of “mommy guilt” lately and so many people acting like it’s a crime if something you say “makes” another mom feel guilty,

  3. cassie says

    You. Are. Awesome. You’ve said exactly what I’ve never had the guts to. Speaking openly about this would make me “judgemental,” “self righteous,” “granola nazi,” and “arrogant,” right? But why am I (and I mean this collectively) taking on these labels when I KNOW that the people who’d be keen to label me as such fail to provide their children with what I believe is vital to their health and wellbeing all the while judging and critising MY parenting style?! It’s ridiculous that we in the attached, gentle parenting community are made to feel guilty for expressing our opinions and beliefs, especially when we are the ones with the science behind us. Wouldn’t want to hurt anyones feelings by pointing out the facts, though, right? Must continue to tip toe around the issue for fear of insulting or demoralizing someone, right? Maybe if less of us tip toed, we’d start to see some changes in peoples attitudes and behaviors.

    Thank you for the post. I’m really grateful you are brave enough to say it when most of us aren’t!

  4. Nalhcal says

    I am a mum who couldn’t breastfeed, and let me just say that I take offence to people judging me as a bad mum for not breastfeeding, Everywhere you go, you are judged and have breastfeeding is better for your child etc shoved down your throat. Almost everyone makes you out to be a bad parent, well here’s some facts for you:

    - My child has been formula fed since birth as I was unable to breastfeed
    - My child has slept all night since birth (no 2am feeds for us)
    - My child is a healthier weight than most breast fed babies I know

    So now you tell me which is better for my child. I’ll take formula over breastfeeding anyday, even moreso now that I know how much better off my child is!!! Don’t like it? Go winge to someone who gives a stuff, and stop trying to ram breastfeeding is better down my throat, otherwise I may just ram something else down yours!!!

    • says

      I’m sorry you so completely missed the entire point of the post. As to your statements about your own experience, they bear nothing on the actual argument on breast versus formula. As for me not liking it, I actually couldn’t give a damn, which was part of what you seem to have clearly missed in the post (and probably in many of the comments about breastfeeding as well – most people don’t say others are bad parents, they simply talk about the very real differences between formula and breastfeeding and then others make the assumption of judgment).

      But since you asked, I will say that breastmilk is still better for your child. And I’m sorry that formula was the only option you had as someone who couldn’t breastfeed – that’s part of the problem that providing education is hoping to rectify.

    • Tiff says

      If you had to formula feed you had to formula feed. Why would you feel guilty? Anyway, a couple of points: I know a few breastfed babies that slept through the night VERY early on. And my son has been over the 95th percentile for weight AND height since birth and was exclusively breastfed till 6 months when we started introducing solid foods. I’ve always gathered that stuff has more to do with all babies being different than anything else.

    • Bridget says

      1. Newborns are NOT supposed to sleep through the night!! It is dangerous as it causes them to sleep too deeply which is a SIDS risk as they may not rouse themselves when they have a sleep apnea! Sleeping through the night is unnatural and dangerous for young babies. People just think its good because it’s convenient. Well, babies aren’t convenient. They are tiny and vulnerable and need your constant presence to be safe and to grow. But dont take my word for it – Look up the work of Helen Ball of Durham, and James McKenna of Notre Dame.

      2. The recommended weight charts are based on the average weight of formula-fed babies, who follow a different pattern of weight gain (and also are at a higher risk for obesity and diabetes btw) than breastfed babies. Further, weight gain is merely one measure of the health of an infant. You have to look at the whole child: are they alert and active? Do they exhibit curiosity about the world around them? Do they make eye contact and respond to people around them? Do they cry when they need something, and calm down when a need is met? Do they have good reflexes and muscle tone, following objects with their eyes? These are the things parents should be looking for in their babies, not “how does my child compare to the average formula-fed baby?”

      • says

        Thanks for mentioning this. Since the beginning of time the growth charts have been based on formula fed babies, which resulted in care providers freaking out and insisting breast feeding mothers supplement their perfectly healthy, normal newborns. Once we finally realized that formula fed babies and breast fed babies have different growth patterns (how was this not common sense???) we have two different charts.

      • says

        Oh, and the “sleeping through the night” comment set the hair on the back of neck up, as well. Great, you’re getting more sleep,…. at the risk of your child’s life! Whether he needs to eat or not, newborns should be woken up every three or so hours. But this isn’t common knowledge. The fact that breast milk is easily digested and that infants must be fed at close intervals is one of nature’s fail safes. So you have some women almost gloating over their infants sleeping through the night. when it’s actually something we should be preventing, not encouraging!

    • says

      What do you mean you couldn’t breast feed? Do you not have breasts? Are you on a medication that is proven to be dangerous to your baby and for which there was no alternative? Since you didn’t even initiate breast feeding at birth those are the only two logical reasons I can come up with. If you know that you truly had no possible to get breast milk into your baby, if you know that in order to protect him now it was worth the risk of the many health related problems that formula feeding can result in, then you wouldn’t be so hostile about this issue. Great, your child is healthy now. But diabetes and obesity won’t show up for years, possibly decades! Your anecdotal evidence pertaining to ONE child does nothing to disprove the thousands of peer reviewed journal articles proving that breast milk is the ideal food for infants. It’s the biological norm, not a “perk” or a “bonus.” It’s not that breast milk is superior, it’s that formula is inferior and dangerous to your child’s health.

      It’s not that anyone is shoving anything down your throat. It’s that every single time you hear anything breast feeding related it touches a nerve in you. I mean, it must, since it usually takes a pretty big trigger for a grown woman to threaten violence.

    • jude says

      Formula feeding is easier for the parent not better for the baby. The baby might weigh alot due to fat gained by the formula . Breast milk contributes to the healthy growth of bones, muscles, organs etc.ive breastfed three out of four children, one I was unable to so she had formula. My three breastfeds grew at an enormous rate into healthy lean children and my bottle fed is still small and has severe eczema. Breastfeeding can be hard work but the benefits for your baby can’t be ignored. Bottle feeding is not the end of the world but your kidding yourself to say its healthier it just makes your life easier

  5. Stephani says

    This is the first post I’ve read by you, and I hope to read many more. Everything you say has been proven in empirical studies, so if people have a beef with the facts, they should go yell and threaten the babies that responded better to breastmilk, co-sleeping, etc because there’s absolutely nothing you did except report on what happened in those studies.

    Thanks for all you do, keep up the good work.

  6. says

    Thank you for being brave enough to tell it like it is! This is amazing and I wish more people would have the courage to say this. This fear of “making people feel guilty” at the expense of facts, reality, and science is hard to imagine happening in any other realm. Shame on the smoking cessation support group for making people feel guilty about smoking? Or shame on locavores for promoting farmers markets for making people feel guilty about shopping at supermarkets? It is so bizarre that we have to tip toe around this fear of guilt when it comes to breastfeeding. The truth is out there… hiding under billions of dollars of marketing campaigns.

  7. lcd2 says

    I feel the need to defend Nalhcal although Cassie will probably jump down my throat. Babies do not need to be woken up every 3 hours. For someone who is an “attached” parent and all about following your baby’s cues, you should know this. My daughter was born preterm (35 weeks) and was hospitalized for some time due to jaundice. Due to her low birth weight and jaundice, when she was discharged I had to follow up with her pediatrician every 2 days. She was a very sleepy infant and I wanted to know how often I should wake her to feed her, he said every 4 hours. So I did, round the clock. Her weight improved, as did her jaundice. After a week, he said that I should let her go 5 hours. After 3 weeks I didn’t have to wake her anymore and she would sleep 8 hours at night and never had any issues with sleeping. He said that she needed sleep desperately since she was preterm and I needed to give that to her, it was an important as feeding. Now she is almost a year and is very healthy and sleeps 12 hours straight at night. I didn’t sleep train her, never had to as I always respected her need for sleep.

    I don’t agree with judging parents, either way. My main problem with the main post is that it is extremely judgmental, and then tries to justify this judgment with apparently backing it up with facts. Children do best when their parents love them and are happy and confident themselves. Whatever way you feel best parenting, please do that. Let others do it their way.

    Also, formula isn’t dangerous. It is inferior to breastmilk, there is no doubt about that but it has safely fed babies for decades. I was a formula fed baby and I do not judge my mother for doing that, I am perfectly happy, well-educated, have a healthy BMI, etc. I chose to breastfeed my babies and was able to do so.

    Happy mothering!

    • says

      What I think you missed in the original is that there wasn’t a single judgment about a style of parenting. If to say that formula is inferior to breastmilk is judgmental, then you propose we can’t speak about certain facts without raising judgment. And that’s what most people are trying to do – say that just talking about these facts equals judgment and I completely disagree.

  8. Genevieve says

    This is RIGHT ON. Facts aren’t judgement. It isn’t judgement to say the world is round, or that when you throw something in the air gravity will make it come down – or that breastmilk has SO MANY benefits that formula simply does not. It is too bad women feel guilty and then judges vs listen to the facts and then do their best. That is all we can do in the end!!

  9. tarkabab says

    Guilt is an emotion and emotions don’t always come and go as logics dictate. Yes, you can feel guilt about anything, including things that others decided for you or things that just happened, because you can never know _for sure_ if you ever could have done anything to avoid or change that. And then again anything can trigger that guilt, even facts. Emotions don’t care about anybody saying this is not rational.

    I’m not suggesting that it’s OK to harrass mothers for “extended” brestfeeding, cosleeping or comforting their kids when they need that. Nor is it productive to get angry at facts and at those who bring the news. You are absolutely right when saying that guilt _can_ simply come from wrong choices but how does saying this actually help people you seem to address here?

    • says

      My belief is that when you know better, you do better. So for people who rally against the facts, they are fighting against allowing themselves or others to do better. Even if they choose not to take part in one of the new things they learn about, they are learning more and making more educated decisions. That is a wonderful, empowering thing.

      Only an individual can make themselves feel guilty – whatever the stimuli. It may be emotions, but when we accept our own emotions, we can learn from them and move forward. And that’s the best thing we can do.

      • tarkabab says

        I honestly wish it was as simple as this: you know the facts and you do it right. Life has shown a different face to me :)

        • says

          Doing it right and doing it better are different things :) We can only do our best given our knowledge and awareness of the current situation. There may be issues that pop up down the line they couldn’t know about, but then they learn from that and make an even more educated decision the next time around. As long as we continue to learn, we should keep doing better for our situations and families! And what is better for me may not be better for another person.

    • Anne says

      I agree — I do think we have to be careful about saying “if you didn’t do something wrong, you wouldn’t feel guilt”. I am very attuned to this, because, though I am still exclusively breast-feeding at 8 months (plus solids now), my baby went with an undiagnosed tongue-tie for 7 weeks and I know how much luck was involved in making our situation work. If I hadn’t stumbled across something on the internet, if the Health Visitor hadn’t misplotted her 6 week weigh to put off just a little bit longer the instruction to supplement with formula (which would have been the start of the end for us — I have a medical condition which doesn’t preclude making breastmilk but which does make it difficult, and any supplementation would have destroyed my fragile supply), if I hadn’t found the one person within hundreds of miles of us that could revise the tie, if I hadn’t had the resources to make the 300-mile journey and pay for the surgery… so many things out of my control had to go right and to my luck they did.

      But if they hadn’t? For sure I would feel guilty. If I never learned about the tongue-tie, I probably would have been convinced that if I had just “tried a bit harder” I could have made it work. The answer that, oh, I should have had more support would not have helped: I had tons of support! I had a breastfeeding support worker coming by almost every day. How was I to know that they, the infant feeding coordinator, my Health Visitor, several midwives, a couple peadiatricians, and my GP were all unaware of how to diagnosis the form of ankyloglossia that my baby had? No amount of trying harder was going to make my baby’s tongue work properly, but without that knowledge, I would have put the blame on myself.

      Also, I suspect for many women trying and failing to breastfeed can be contributing factor in postpartum depression. I know it would have been for me — I was on the knife edge a month and a half in with a starving baby and terror that this just wasn’t going to work out. And to a depressed woman, saying “if you didn’t do something wrong, you wouldn’t feel guilt,” does not make her conclude that, “I did nothing wrong, therefore I do not have to be guilty”, it would make her conclude instead, “I am guilty, therefore I did something wrong.” And the inability to actually find the decision that is wrong would just reinforce the belief that the wrongness is in her very existence, as there doesn’t seem to be anything else.

      So, while some people may be acting out of repressed guilt, there are others who are likely far too aware of their guilt and to be told this proves they did something wrong could be quite damaging. I think it behooves us to be careful in our conversations and try to find out an individual’s story before asking them to self-reflect, and to make we are not just rubbing salt into an open wound,

      • says

        Yes, I agree at an individual level we need to know people’s stories before commenting. I admit this piece was done with just simply sharing the articles I (and others) have written and getting blasted for trying to make people feel guilty by writing about the, for example, increased risk of cancer associated with formula feeding. So generally sharing information in an open forum (therefore not making any assumptions about any individuals) can still lead people to label you as being someone who is “out to get” or “judge” women for making different choices. And it gets to be beyond frustrating!

        But absolutely if you’re talking to one person about their story you NEED to find out their experience before making any kind of judgment. And on that note, I would hope that if people who do have some extreme circumstances come across an article on EP or elsewhere, they don’t start jumping up and down screaming that we’re being mean to them intentionally. I would also say that in your particular case, there a was a lack of support with respect to knowledge. Not having anyone who can correctly identify all variants of tongue-tie is a big problem because it means you can’t have the *appropriate* support you need. And we need to work on that!!!

        So glad to hear you did get everything sorted though :)

        • Anne says

          Yes, I understand perfectly.

          And I’m happy we got it sorted too! I agree it was lack of appropriate support, which is a big problem in tongue-tie, especially as people who knows a little can convince you that everything is fine in that department. The best I can do is to work on spreading the word: for example, a woman came to our LLL meeting a few months ago saying the one thing she knew was it wasn’t tongue-tie… But she had been told that by all the same people who told me. I shared my story and she continued to pursue it, and found out her baby had the same kind mine did (posterior tie), which she got revised. And when my friend who is a peadiatrician came to visit shortly after we’d figured everything out, I told her what we had gone through and she said, “I wonder…” as she had encountered women with trouble breastfeeding that they just couldn’t figure out. Two weeks after she visited I heard that she diagnosed one of her patients with a posterior tie! Unfortunately, they had trouble finding someone who could revise in her country, so I don’t know what happened. But at least the knowledge is spreading.

  10. ElJaFiMa says

    I identify strongly with this..

    I have a lot of good information in my head about breastfeeding, but I don’t know if I can handle helping people anymore if I can’t correct misinformation without the shoot the messenger types of situations popping up repeatedly. The most recent was so ridiculously awful I’m taking a break..

    How do you cope with the hate? How do you not get mad? Why do some women want sssooo badly to shoot the messenger? Why do other women find a “good guy”/”bad guy” situation so darn irresistible and just have to jump in?

    I think I need thicker skin, but I think many women need to evaluate their real intentions with attempts at silencing the better informed among them. Sigh.

    • Tracy says

      I think I cope by focusing on the positive comments and stories I hear about women becoming informed and working to make sure they are able to do what is best for them – whether it be a natural birth, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, etc. Sometimes you just want to hit someone though as the misinformation and backlash to sharing the truth can be so strong!

    • Ellyn says

      I agree so much! I often hear misinformation quoted re: breastfeeding and am itching to correct but have learned to keep my mouth shut because I instantly get attacked. I would love a post with tips on how to “gently” share facts about breastfeeding, co-sleeping, gentle parenting, etc.

  11. Shar says

    Amen Sister! You hit the nail on the head with this post! People are always saying one has something to prove or thinks they are better than everyone else when they make choices that go against the societal grain. I say they are guilty because they too could have made what might seem like the more difficult choices, but took the easy way out. There are some people who truly cannot breastfeed or bed share due to extenuating circumstances, but the rest choose to do or NOT do something. If you are secure in your decisions then great, but if not? Don’t try to shoot me down for natural childbirth, extended breastfeeding, and bed sharing, because I will shut you up with my extensive knowledge on each and every subject. I don’t judge your choices, please refrain from judging mine :)
    This is probably one of my favorite posts of all the blogs I follow. Thank you for saying what alot of us are thinking all the time, but get called “judge mental” for saying :(

    • Tracy says

      Thank you :) Yes, shooting the messenger is a favourite tactic. Of course the goal is probably to shut all messengers up so people can return to living in ignorance! Why it’s important not to shut up :)

  12. Jessica says

    I love this post! I have IGT and breastfed and supplemented for 6 months with formula and breast milk. My daughter is now on all donor milk, but thankful that formula was there when we needed it. I also had 2 csections for legitimate medical reasons. I wish I could have fully breastfed and had vaginal births, but I don’t feel guilt and I’m a huge advocate for breast feeding and natural, vaginal births. I take no offense and feel no guilt :)

    • says

      I’m so glad you’re happy with how things worked for you – c-section and formula and all! I don’t know any reasonable person who advocates to the point of saying things like c-sections are *always* bad (that’s ridiculous), but guilt comes when you believe you had a choice and don’t feel comfortable with your choice. Otherwise, how on earth do you feel guilt???

  13. Dee says

    “…..That when you open up that can of formula and look at the processed powder that smells like something from a factory, you realize this isn’t what your child was meant to eat and you know that in your case, you have other options?”

    How is this comment of any help to anyone who has no other choice but to give their baby formula? Isn’t this comment constructed in a way to make a mother feel bad and guilty regardless of her situation? You make some strong statements but don’t take ownership of them and how they may make someone feel, but rather you put it back onto the person reading the article. ….”you decide to blame others for making you feel bad….” Again, I ask – how is this helpful?

    Where is the sensitivity to those mothers who would do anything for their children and would love to be able to breastfeed but unfortunately have to give them “processed powder that smells like something from a factory”?

    How about just talking about the benefits of breastfeeding, full stop? Because at the end of the day those who are able to breastfeed but choose not to, won’t really be interested in article telling them the benefits of breastfeeding.

    It seems to me that you want people to feel guilty.

  14. Rach says

    STOP!!!!
    No one HAS to give their baby formula if breastfeeding does not work out. Donor Breast Milk is the second best option. It would have been good to see this mentioned somewhere in the article, so stop the ‘if my baby didn’t have formula they would have died’ ideology.

    • Dee says

      You make it sound so simple. So black and white. If only it were, but unfortunately it is not.

      Donor breast milk organisations main concern is getting donor breast milk to hospitals for premature babies or ill babies. There are some organisations which do sell breast milk, but it is not realistically affordable. I have seen a quote of $80 per litre! An average baby (after acouple of months) will consume about a litre a day so when you do the math, it is very very expensive to feed one child.

      Yes you can go online and buy directly from a lactating mother, but why on earth would you risk your child’s health, feeding them fluids from a complete stranger? Do you know their lifestyle? Do they smoke or use illegal drugs? Do they drink alcohol or caffeine containing drinks in excess? Do you know about their health situation? Have they tested positive for HIV 1 or 2, Hepatitis B or C, HTLV l or ll or syphilis?

      Yes most of us would agree that breast milk is the best thing for a baby, but at the end of the day not everyone is able to do it or is only able to do so for alittle while, whilst others choose not to take that road at all. We, as mother’s, need to be supportive of each other rather than tearing each other down over choices made, whether forced or elected. We do not need to be passing judgement on others that there is a better way. It may be an option for you, but it is not an option for everyone. You cannot assume it is as simple as how you see it.

      It is so sad and disappointing to see that women….mother’s, do not understand each other and support one and other. At the end of the day we are all doing the best we can.

  15. says

    I was unfortunately unable to breastfeed past the first few days (long story, son was latched constantly from birth, even sleeping, and I was very badly damaged, asked for help from every midwife who said basically no pain no gain, he threw up blood on the first morning home and the children’s hospital told me to stop, but I expressed constantly at least 5 hours/day for 5 weeks which equated to one bottle of breast milk a day almost until I dried up completely).

    I feel guilt for being so obsessed with that one bottle of breast milk a day. I feel guilt for not physically being able to breastfeed and wonder if I really did everything I could to get the help early on with latching. That’s my guilt about my actions. I think breastfeeding is the most natural and loving thing a mum can do and don’t feel guilt about what others say, I actually agree with most of it.

    The funny thing is I didn’t even know that I was attachment parenting until recently, I’ve had the anti co sleeping brigade on me, criticism for responding when my sons upset, not leaving him in a darkened room to cry etc. I parent how feels natural to me and it happens to be this way. He may not have slept through until 11 months but he does everything in his own time and everyone comments how happy, content and good he is.

    I’m in no way judging others parenting styles but I do believe babies aren’t meant to be ‘trained’, in my opinion they need love, encouragement, comfort to learn the world around them. You need patience and understanding as a parent and to know it’ll be so hard at times but what could be worth more?

  16. Leanne says

    I agree with everything you said. I am a mom who failed at breast feeding… It still brings tears to my eyes when I sit and think about feeding my baby formula. I HATE it when people ask me if I’m breast feeding, I feel like I have to tell them my whole story so they don’t judge me and think that I am not doing the very best for my baby girl. I am embarrassed when I have to pull out a bottle of formula in public, and I am envious of my friends who are able to breast feed with ease. I will forever feel guilt for failing, although I know I tried everything. That being said, I am a huge advocate for breast feeding and I LOVE that there are so many people talking about how important it is. You’re exactly right, if you are confident in your parenting decisions then you would not be offended.

  17. irina says

    Tracy, I have to disagree with your statement that people (here mothers) feel guilt only when actively CHOOSING not to breastfeed.

    At the beginning of my motherhood I nearly had to turn to formula due to misinformation and poor breastfeeding experience. Let me tell you that guilt was eating at me day and night and I got so stressed over this that the little breastmilk that I had was disappearing fast. I was feeling like a complete failure as a mother and as a woman.
    That was a very dark period for me but at the end I got lucky to meet people that helped me re-establish the milk supply. Now I breastfeed and enjoy it immensely. And I never jump to conclusions about why other mothers do not breastfeed. Regardless of the reason, guilt can be very real, even when you didn’t have a choice.

  18. Littlemsmel says

    Tracy!!!! amazing article!!! I absolutely love it ! I am from Canada where yes, we still do have the formula pushers,but most of us are encouraged to bf. Unfortunately, I have noticed in the US that is not simply the case. It’s sad….breast milk,co-sleeping,not vaccinating(oh oh here we go)and attached parenting were no brainers to me but I am a very opened minded spiritual person always searching for the truth instead of what *they* say…..call me crazy,call me a hippie- I simply don’t care…. all I know is that my son is beautiful,he is smart,he feels safe and secure and loved…he gets smothered with kisses not needles. He gets my breast any time he wants it. He’s very healthy:) Do what your heart tells you to do but please at least try to breast feed…..don’t listen to the formula,c-section and vaccination pushers. Any doc would have cut me open after my painful 4 hour pushing extravaganza but my midwifes didn’t look at their watches,they helped me get him out naturally with no EPI. Sorry to go off topic but I feel so passionately for anyone who can speak out against the FORMULA PUSHING GEN. Oh and BTW, formula is extremely dangerous NOW for your baby because it is filled with toxic chemicals and it is GMO. More than a few batches have killed children in Africa and China…….So please, please—when you have a little baby take the time to learn to breastfeed, even if you have no support and are uncomfortable about it, stop being so selfish.

  19. Amy says

    Thank you for posting this!!
    I’ll address my own issue here. Speaking for myself, I do feel judged by breast feeding mothers. Most are understanding but it does hurt my feelings when I’m told that I’m poisoning my child and setting them up for being less intelligent and more sickly than their breast fed peers. These statements are made with the presumption that I want these things for my girls. Why would I want that?? The truth is the breast is best but formula is a viable alternative in the breasts absence.
    I was unable to produce enough milk for my girls. I decided its better to formula feed exclusively than to under feed by the breast. I want my children to be healthy by any means necessary. When faced with a judgement for my choice, I sometimes ask myself “do these mothers think I should let my children go hungry? Is that in their best interest? Is that making them feel loved and provided for if I let them go hungry?”
    Im not feeling guilty because I’m doing something wrong. I’m not perfect but I’m not harming either. Just remember that when you speak negatively of a mothers choice, it hurts. If you don’t want to feel judged for breast feeding be aware of your comments towards mothers that are formula feeding.

    • says

      I don’t unless they come here to complain that I’ve written a post on something that “offends”. But I will consider it my business to work for things so that women have options. If I truly didn’t worry, I wouldn’t care for the women that feel they don’t have options and that’s certainly not the case.

  20. says

    Traci,

    I loved this post and like all of your posts is very thought provoking. I find that lately I kinda don’t care what other parents are doing. It sounds so bad when I write it out like that! But I’ve realized that it is a good thing because it means I feel REALLY good about what I’m doing. It doesn’t mean I’ve changed my opinion on what I think is best for children though and I’m so glad that there are pages like your sharing information passionately. You are touching lives and changing the world, so keep it up! I look at it this way – it is good to have “haters” and negative comments because it shows that you are hitting a nerve with people and making them think.

  21. Emma Andrews says

    I am a young mum and really appreciate how enlightening your posts are. I unfortunately started off with PND, as well as thinking it was ok to be unattached, and that sleeping through the night was the be-all-and-end-all. However, dealing with my PND, and multiple breastfeeding/latch issues (I EP’d for 2 months before successfully bringing my daughter back to the breast), I like to think that every day I make up for lost time. I still breastfeed at 18 months, baby wear and respond to the smallest upset. We never got on with co-sleeping, that seemed to be my daughter’s choice, and she does sleep 12 hours at night. It saddens me to see mothers reach for the formula, because that isn’t nature’s way! But I thank you for all of your info as it’s helped me be a better Mummy :)

  22. Eleanor says

    I am pregnant and am continuing to breaded my 2 year old and plan to tandum breast feed toddler and infant. Now that is my choice and I believe it is the best thing for my child. The same people who get all defensive about my beliefs making other women ‘guilty’ are the people who are so quick to tell me all the reasons why I should wean my toddler. So glad to see this article!

  23. cathab123 says

    Thanks for posting this. I am constantly criticized by the members of my family for co-sleeping, holding her to much, not using cio method- it never ends. I am also told she will always be spoiled and will never be independent.

    This was very encouraging and lets me know I am not wrong! I’m so grateful to see that other parents are doing what I’m doing with success! Thanks so much!

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