Every decision you make is another opportunity to feel mom guilt. Or even better? Another opportunity to shame others for their horrible parenting decisions.
The way one chooses to feed a baby is probably the most popular way parents and non-parents alike LOVE to shame themselves and others. Apparently, what you put into your child from the moment that they are born will affect them both during and after life so guys, YOU BETTER GET IT RIGHT!!!
There is only one truth to feeding your child. That truth is: feed your child something baby appropriate. And make sure to do it many times a day every day. However you choose to do so really doesn’t matter.
How people have the energy to look down on each other for something so insignificant than if a child has a breast in their mouth or a plastic nipple fascinates me. Why does it matter so much to people how you do it, as long as the baby is developing appropriately?
If we used guilt to fuel our cars, we could probably travel 10 times around the world without having to stop to refuel. There’s enough of it going around without having to add to it with a good dose of feed-shaming.
Breastfeeders get shamed because they DARE to show their breasts (covered or not) in public.
Bottle-feeders get shamed because they’re feeding their children liquid POISON that will cause them to contract AIDS… or something like that.
So if you’re on the fence, and feeling guilty that you haven’t made your mind up yet, or are feeling guilty because you made up your mind and some people don’t agree with you, or feeling guilty because you had made a choice that you can’t follow through with for whatever reason, here are a few facts that should take some of that pressure away. Feel free to use them if ever someone tries to shame you again.
1- Breast is NOT necessarily best. Did you know that there is a negligeable amount Vitamin D in breastmilk? Parents that breastfeed need to give their children vitamin D drops daily to supplement this much needed substance that a child would get in formula. That’s right. If you formula feed, no need to give your child a supplement because they added it in there, specifically for the health of your child.
2- Every person on this planet has seen a boob. So if someone gets offended when seeing your nipple for half a second, kindly offer them to download some soft-core porn on your phone to distract themselves while you go about your daily business. Hey, it’s free. (which we can’t say about formula, amiright?) They’ll probably be less offended by the sight of a sexy boob shot than by you feeding your child.
3- Breastfeeding takes a fucking long time. When I feed my baby formula, it takes literally 10 minutes from beginning to end in order for my child to consume a dose of milk. If I breastfeed, it can take up to one hour an a half. That’s right ladies and gents. An hour and a half. And I can’t guarantee that this marathon feeding session will have him sleeping for 4 or 5 hours. Chances are that he’ll be awake in half an hour screaming for more. And that in my case, in the meantime, my toddler will be climbing into the patio door blinds just to get a rise out of me.
4- Breastfeeding is sooooo much easier than having to prepare formula. No need to carry around water and powder. No need to find something to warm up the substance while your child wails in public. Or to stress out that you’ve brought enough with you. Just pop that shirt off, whip those tits out (don’t we love us some tit-whipping action, ladies?!), and pop it right in there. No clean up either (well, that is unless you’ve got some all over your shirt, or the couch, or those fancy pillows you’ve used to rest your elbow on. If that’s the case, kindly offer to clean said pillows before leaving your friend’s house. Especially if they’re anti-breastmilk).
5- It’s hard to breastfeed when you’re working. If ever someone shames you about your choice, offer them to watch your child (for free of course), and breastfeed your child (after proper STI screening and a strict abstinence-of-sexual-activity or intravenous-drug-use contract of course). Oh and of course, they’re probably gonna have to teach your child to latch on to their breast. Or offer them to start out their own wet-nurse slave business for all those poor moms who have chosen to feed their child formula so that you can actually put said food on the table.
6- If someone touts the benefits of breastmilk on IQ and attachment, bring them to a preschool and have them point out the kids that have been breastfed in a lineup. Offer them permanent indenture if they achieve at least a 95% success rate.
Like I said before, no matter what choice you make, you’ll feel guilty. If you don’t feel guilty about how you feed your child, you’ll feel guilty about the amount of time you spend playing with them vs. the amount of time you give them to play independently. You’ll feel guilty about where they sleep or whether they’re being held enough. You’ll feel guilty about whether you smash up their food or give it to them in pieces, or if it’s organic or not. See what I mean?
Personally, I think feeding sucks. It’s the time of day that I dread the most. Whether it involves warming up a bottle, popping open my shirt, or preparing a full meal for my toddler (that she will most likely throw on the floor in any case asking for a tubbytoast instead) changes nothing in the slightest. What you will remember, 20 years from now, has less to do with WHAT you fed your child, but how you felt while you were doing it.
It comes down to this: you do you. I’ll do me. Promise me that you won’t teach your child how to sniff a line of coke before they’re (fully-vaccinated) adults, and we’re a-ok.