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Hey, You, Get Offa My Boobs

As if I don’t do enough ranting, I have to touch on a political hot button for a few minutes. And it has nothing to do with Obama vs. Hillary but everything to do with mammary glands. I’m just sick of the culture of breastfeed or die out there right now.

Why do so many women have so much animosity toward other women based on the way they feed their children? In my first book, Sippy Cups, I wrote a chapter about my bad experience with attempting to breast feed. For me personally, it was a terrible trauma that entailed nonstop crying on my end and the baby’s, exacerbated my ppd and in the end, wasn’t even worth the three weeks I endured it. Yet, many many readers attacked me for daring to state my own experience. If you don’t believe me, check my Amazon reviews.

The reason I’m still fired up over this is because since my second book came out, I am approached by a lot of women at various functions (okay, fine, the few – very few- book signings I’ve had) who tell me how relieved they were to read my first book and find out they weren’t alone about breastfeeding becoming a huge ordeal for them. Quite a few of these women told me they quit breastfeeding but were afraid to tell their friends because they’ve been openly judged. You (and by you, I mean everyone out there) have no idea how many women among you don’t breastfeed but will tell you to your face that they do!! Why is that? I’ll tell you why – the anti-breastfeeding of the 50’s and 60’s has experienced a backlash so huge it’s gone completely the other way. I know that there are moms out there who still feel they are stigmatized by breastfeeding. I hear you – sure, someone was booted from a plane and Starbucks took a hit out on a breastfeeder – okay…but I don’t feel it nearly competes with what is going on in the opposite direction. Women, are proud of openly judging other moms who don’t breastfeed and will tell women to their face that they are lesser for their choice (or non-choice for many many women).

I know of a million breastfeeding fanatics yet I don’t know one person who is vehemently opposed to people breastfeeding. I read a blog awhile back where the author said she was at a park and saw a woman bottle feeding her baby. She actually wrote that she pitied that woman and her baby because the woman wasn’t breastfeeding. I was so angry I wanted to spit in her face and yet, many readers commented that they related to her feelings! WTF? First of all, how did she know the bottle feeder wasn’t feeding breastmilk but secondly, how is it anyone’s business?

I’m afraid that it’s exactly this attitude which has become so prevelant that makes perfectly wonderful moms hide their fears and insecurities and challenges from others. And all of this hiding leads to depression, isolation and an all around bad experience with new motherhood. And it doesn’t need to be this way!

I’m just saying, it would be nice if we could maybe feel good about our own choices and let others feel good about theirs. I know “breast is best” but guess what; we all fucking get that at this point. Some of us can’t or choose not to do it, even knowing that it may be best. Here is my unpopular opinion: If you want to breastfeed but are finding it difficult yet you really want to try – by all means, do it! There are lactation consultants, breastfeeding support groups and many other breastfeeding mothers who will be there to support you. But, if breastfeeding doesn’t work for you, and you are dying for a voice to tell you that you are still a great mom and are making the best choice for you and your baby – I’m here! Please do not feel guilty; formula has come an awful long way and is the next best thing. Being more confident as a second timer (third timer really) I proudly feed formula to my twins and I’ve even been known to mix it with tap water once or twice in a pinch! My first daughter, Elby, has never had an ear infection, is a good eater, rarely has more than the common cold and is as smart as the day is long! I don’t know if it’s just good genes or if there’s some smart juice added to that Good Starts powder. So, if you see me out there with my formula and you have something to say – I warn you, to quote my friend Heather – it’s on like Donkey Kong, mother fucker!

Okay, I’m done.

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on May 15, 2008 6:41 pmUncategorized91 comments  

91 Comments

  1. Kat said,

    You go girl…first of all, most of our parents weren’t breastfed and secondly, when does it become anyone else’s freaking business. It all starts when people think they can touch your belly when you’re pregnant and tell you how you are doing poor parenting…it’s none of their business!!!
    Let this fly and fly proudly!!!

    | May 15, 2008 @ 8:08 pm

  2. Anonymous said,

    ok, so I LOVED both your books and totally related to each and every part!! But, I’m a breastfeeder. I totally do not judge what anyone else does though. I know it’s frikin hard for some people. I was really lucky(and suprised because I stressed about how hard it was gonna be for my whole pregnancy) that it was pretty easy for me. It was like the one thing I felt I could do as a new mom to get my daughter to stop screaming. Anyway, I hope I’m still part of the cool crowd. I promise not to give a f**k if you formula, breast or goat milk feed YOUR child if you don’t think I’m showing off when I breast feed mine!!

    | May 15, 2008 @ 8:25 pm

  3. Just Me said,

    Yes! Thank you. Since when did having children make women fair game for other people’s input on what to eat, how to parent, and what to feed your children? Like it’s any of their business? I just don’t get why strangers (or even people you know, family and friends) think it’s their right and privilege to give input. I BF both my babies, and it was (mostly) a good experience. When they were weaned (around 8 mos and 10 mos) I gave them raw milk. Not formula, and not pasteurized homogenized milk. You can’t imagine the flak I got from people for that. My kids, my way. Other people should learn to live with it. Especially when I don’t give them input on their children and parenting styles. Breast, bottle, whatever — be supportive of a new mother or keep your opinion to yourself. Motherhood is hard enough without people ganging up on you about how and what you feed your baby.

    | May 15, 2008 @ 8:40 pm

  4. Rebecca said,

    Awesome post! I think for some new mums it is misunderstanding that leads to the judgement. When I had my daughter I was determined to breastfeed so hung in there for dear life. I was very lucky to have a supportive mum nearby who came to my house almost everyday for 3 months until we had breastfeeding established.

    Four years later pregnant with my twin boys I had to spend some time grieving that no breastfeeding would happen. With a recent diagnosis of Bipolar disorder I needed to take Lithium. This crosses the breast and is toxic to babies.

    What a wake up call to me. I had been one of those judgemental bitches who thought bottle feeding mums were slackers. I now realise, and empathise, that for a million different reasons women may bottlefeed and that it’s NONE of my business. Unless of course they want to tell me.

    | May 15, 2008 @ 8:57 pm

  5. Amy said,

    AMEN Sistah!! I tried to breastfeed. I honestly did. But it’s exhausting to pump non-stop for Baby who is in the NICU, who you are trying to spend most of your time with and couldn’t even feed at the time (and, yes, I went back to work 5 days after giving birth, which compounded things). By the end of his NICU stay I was exhausted from trying to pump, I mean, feed. He was a BAD latcher, and I ended up with mastitis. You let someone go through that shit and then call you a bad person for giving up. They can all kiss my back side. My child is perfectly healthy from his three weeks of breastmilk followed by his soy fomula. Good for you for this awesome rant!

    | May 15, 2008 @ 8:58 pm

  6. Melissa said,

    AMEN. Your books are now on my must-read list. I’m a twin mom and I still have no earthly idea how other twin moms manage to breastfeed; good for them, but for us it just wasn’t sustainable.

    | May 15, 2008 @ 9:01 pm

  7. All Things BD said,

    A. Men.

    I had one of each. Bottle fed the first one after a horrible start compounded by extreme anxiety requiring medication. Breast fed the second one for 7 months, during which time I produced MASSIVE quantities of milk, allowing me to bottle feed her when out and about so I didn’t have to whip out the boob.

    My kids are off the chart growth-wise, and are kinda smart to boot. One of each, and guess what? They both lived to see another day.

    If you can breastfeed, great! Good for you. If you can’t, formula rocks and you get to wear regular bras sooner. It all works out for the best.

    | May 15, 2008 @ 9:09 pm

  8. MetroDad said,

    Isn’t this just another example of how polarized everything in this country has become? Somehow we’ve lost the ability to agree to disagree with those who may not share our viewpoint. Politics, religion, education, and now breastfeeding have become the divisive issues of our day.

    Personally, I don’t really care what people choose to do. Last time I checked it was still a free country. My wife struggled to breastfeed and was having a hard time. The pressures she got from the lactivist community were hardly helpful but somehow she managed to drudge through it and came to terms with everything.

    On the other hand, I like to tell people that I was raised solely on formula and look at me! I’m turned out fucking great!

    | May 15, 2008 @ 9:11 pm

  9. Stefanie said,

    First off, thank you Rebecca for your honesty! I think that so many women truly have been or are judgemental and don’t even realize it. So the fact that you came out and said that will be vindicating to a lot of struggling women. I’m so glad that my thoughts aren’t inviting an avalanche of lactivists hoping to prove I’m a “dangerous” blogger and have me forcibly removed fromthe blogosphere. I just want women to feel good about being new parents which is fraught with enough anxiety as it is without adding the breastfeeding pressure. Love you guys!!

    | May 15, 2008 @ 9:20 pm

  10. Aunt Becky said,

    Ben’s autistic, as I’m sure I’ve told you, and I tried like fuck to breastfeed him. How was I supposed to know he had sensory issues at 2 days old? All little babies are dickheads, right?

    And I’ve gotten NO END OF SHIT FOR IT. It’s been fucking ridiculous and it makes my blood boil even thinking about it.

    And then I remember THIS, THIS whole shit about mothers being judgmental over choices is why I don’t hang with other mothers. It’s not worth it to me to have someone else turn their nose at me. It’s just not.

    I have a 6 year old that constantly reminds me about what an idiot I am. I don’t need anyone else to do it for me.

    Fuckers.

    | May 15, 2008 @ 9:23 pm

  11. Brian and Jen said,

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I breastfed both my kids for as long as milk would flow. 7 months with the first, 5 months with the second. And even then, I felt guilty like it wasn’t enough because society puts on this major pressure. It was very hard with both of them and I applaud anyone who can make it a year. Honestly, can’t we all just get along???

    | May 15, 2008 @ 9:40 pm

  12. Cheryl Lage said,

    Stef, you are wonderful. :)

    This statement “I just want women to feel good about being new parents which is fraught with enough anxiety as it is without adding the breastfeeding pressure.” should have you canonized. As a former twin-breastfeeder (who I feel is likely on the dart boards at LLL HQ for declaring BFing is a choice, not a mandate) I salute you, St. Stefanie.

    | May 15, 2008 @ 9:44 pm

  13. Anonymous said,

    I have two adopted kids and I personally have been verbally attacked both when buying the formula with the WIC card and when out in public, bottle feeding my daughter. We adopted through foster care and before the adoption was final we were able to access the WIC program. While at the store this woman looked at my WIC coupons and muttered something under her breath about “you people are such a drain on society”. I was so shocked, I did not reply to her, but had I been able to I would have punched her in the nose. A few months later when we were eating out, a woman approached me as I was feeding my daughter. She actually handed me a brochure on breast feeding and began preaching on how much better it would be for her. This time I was ready and told her that I had had a double mastectomy due to breast cancer at the age of 21, but thank you so much for sticking your big fat nose in my personal business and making such a painful memory public for the whole restaurant to hear. My husband was laughing so hard when she walked away that he nearly fell out of his chair. I totally agree with you that it is NO one’s business how we choose to feed our children.

    | May 15, 2008 @ 10:03 pm

  14. Rachael said,

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post. I was physically unable to breastfeed my son. We had fertility issues and it shouldn’t have been a surprise, but because of the current culture I just had this idea that it was easy, you just stuck the baby on and it pigged out. Well, not the case… My baby was fussy and crying for the first few days and when I realized it was because he was HUNGRY, I cried. A lot. It was a huge loss, one I mourned over. I didn’t choose not to breastfeed, the choice was made for me. I actually had a woman say to me in that haha-i’m-joking-but-not-really way ‘Shame on You’ when I went to make bottle for my hungry two month old. I was literally speechless. I never judge anyone because I don’t know their story. I do think that breast is best, but there are a lot of things that are the best way, but not always possible. I hope that a lot of people read your story, because it is more common that people know, and I wish I’d known and had some support at the time. Also, for anyone with breastfeeding issues, where I DID get support was through MOBI (Mothers Overcoming Breastfeeding Issues), which is a great website and community, and now it’s a nonprofit org! Thanks again for sharing!

    | May 15, 2008 @ 10:15 pm

  15. Anonymous said,

    Love it Kizz!

    | May 15, 2008 @ 10:30 pm

  16. Anonymous said,

    While I would encourage all women to give it a try, I too think it’s just become ridiculous. I don’t see why we can’t just all be thankful our children are eating! I mean hello?? I often wonder if we as mothers though, put a lot of this pressure on ourselves. I say this because as a mom who breastfed my son for just over 2 years, I felt the pressure and stigma the other way, and told many people to their faces that my son was weaned because I couldn’t stand one more person crucifying me for nursing him past the age of 1. I feel that all mothers put pressure on themselves to do every single thing perfect, so when another mother does something different than you; it’s very easy and almost comforting to yourself to think (and unfortunately voice) that it’s a less favorable choice. I know that I get pissed (as you said mad enough to spit) when a choice that I’ve made comes under attack, because like all moms out there, there is nothing more important to me than my child, and that’s something I need to learn to let go of. Knowing at the end of the day that my son is safe, happy and loved is all that matters. In a perfect world, women would lift each other up, comfort and not judge, but that would make for really boring blogs now wouldn’t it?!?

    | May 15, 2008 @ 10:51 pm

  17. cena said,

    this is my hot-button issue. as a matter of fact, i think i’m going to just go ahead and say it – i DON’T think breast is best! and for the mom that says “this is how God intended it.” i say “God gave you feet not wheels and you drive a car, right?!” if it is at all stressing you out or you are run down or have PPD, your milk supply cannot be as good as formula. i’m not basing that on any scientific fact whatsoever, just my opinion. but this comes from the mom who gave both of her kids cereal at 3 ½ months, fed them the fruit before the veggies and hot dogs and peanut butter before age 1. what can i say, i’m a rebel! i think we need more women to come forward about the breast-feeding issue on this side of the argument. then maybe the LLL will shut up!

    | May 15, 2008 @ 11:07 pm

  18. Stefanie said,

    I love you Cena! I agree. I will stand up and say that I don’t think breast is always best either. And I have no proof to back it up myself. AND I fed my daughter fish at 8 months and strawberries and peanut butter at a year too! Thank you for stepping forward! Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty we are free at last!

    | May 15, 2008 @ 11:19 pm

  19. Backpacking Dad said,

    I wonder if there actually was a similar kind of backlash against breastfeeding when formula was first developed and marketed. In the same way that people will look down their noses at people who aren’t using the latest product/fad to do whatever (“Oh, you should really be using moose fat instead of gel in your hair; it’s so much better for your hair and for the environment, if not for the moose”), I think there probably was a lot of cross-eyed looks at breast-feeders back in the 20’s or 30’s or whenever the hell formula was developed:

    “Oh, look at her. Poor woman either can’t afford formula or is ignorant of it’s obvious benefits to the development of her baby.”

    Or, possibly:

    “Hey! Don’t you know that you should never feed your baby breastmilk! You injest all kinds of possibly radioactive material and you could really damage your child! Go buy formula or I’m calling CPS!”

    Round and round we go. Where the snarkiness stops, no one knows.

    I only look down my nose at people who are short or possibly communists. Because, seriously, they should do something about that.

    | May 15, 2008 @ 11:29 pm

  20. Rebecca said,

    I love this discussion. It’s so cathartic. One of my friends calls them the Breastapo. I think part of the problem is parenting itself is highly politicized. The minute you’re pregnant the advice (and judgement) comes thick and fast. A book i’d recommend all parents read is “Bringing up baby: your best friend when the childcare experts are driving you insane” by Daisy Goodwin.

    Also an historical backlash against formula: In the 60’s Nestle introduced infant formula into developing countries. It was a disaster. The mums couldn’t afford to use the formula as directed so they watered it down and starved their babies. Also lots of kids got terrible diseases as they were not immunised and not getting the natural immunity from breastmilk. Obviously in developed countries these things aren’t an issue.

    | May 15, 2008 @ 11:44 pm

  21. IVF 4 Dummies said,

    Annnddd, this is one reason why I loved your book so.

    Just look at the comments, though. Nearly everyone has a disclaimer why they didn’t breastfeed. It’s so unnecessary. Somewhere along the lines different parenting choices became wrong choices…and somewhere it became acceptable for seemingly normal women to attack other women verbally in public for making different parenting choices. I don’t walk up to women wearing leggings and berate them for making that choice. That would be totally crass, wouldn’t it?

    I don’t have a disclaimer. I just don’t plan on breast feeding. I have no desire to explain why or why not. See, I don’t discuss parenting in public. Much like I don’t discuss politics. Basically it boils down to that I don’t give a shit about anyone else’s opinion-if it’s different than mine. If we share the same opinion, I’ll talk your ear off – whether it’s Hillary or formula feeding.

    It’s just how I roll.

    | May 15, 2008 @ 11:46 pm

  22. Cynthia said,

    AAAAmen….

    | May 15, 2008 @ 11:54 pm

  23. Heather said,

    Fish! HAAAAAAA, I don’t even want to know what that diaper smelled like.

    Maddie was in the NICU for ten weeks and oh, the shit I would get if I didn’t bring in bottles of breast milk for her. I attached myself to that damn pump for three months because everyone made me feel guilty. “Oh, preemies NEED breast milk, you can’t do anything for your baby but pump pump pump!” Thanks for laying more baggage on me, jerks! Like having a baby born 11 weeks early wasn’t stressful enough, now I get to worry about not producing enough milk!

    I would sit in the hospital pump room and watch women just pour it out of their boobs. It would take me days to get that much milk. I would pump every three hours and at the end of the day I’d have about six ounces.

    You wanna know why I loooove Maddie’s pediatrician? Because she is the only one who told me it was okay to stop torturing myself! I’d make out with her if I didn’t think my husband would enjoy it so much.

    | May 16, 2008 @ 12:05 am

  24. Letia said,

    Okay I am still sooo laughing from the last part of your blog…..I haven’t read your books but my friend has and she said they are great, so now I must- especially after your bolg. I have boy/girl twins 5 months and pumped for 3 weeks straight then I said screw that, I don’t give a fuck what people think!Now my husband( who btw has twins too)can help! I must say I do get less flack because of the twin thing.The fact of the matter is my babies are healthly and very good sleepers and not fussy, I am not sure if the heavy b-feeders can all say the same! What about the new findings that there is flame retardent in breast milk??? Uh Uh what are they gonna say now??If you can breast feed more power to ya, but not smarter,healthier or sainer! Let’s bring up the “working Mom” or the “stay at home mom” argument,the stay at home Mom’s are brutal with that one! I work full time and if some one has a problem with that “it’s on like Donkey kong!” Okay so I must go feed my babies formula that I am going to heat up in the micro (OMG!)I am smart enough to know when it’s too hot and never heat up
    in plastic….:0)

    | May 16, 2008 @ 12:15 am

  25. Little Read Hen said,

    I was one of those soon-to-be-moms who would talk to you up and down about how I was going to breastfeed for ‘at LEAST 18 months’. Um, yeah. It didn’t really work out that way, and swear to god, I have this gigundus, healthy, happy, 2 1/2 year old and I STILL feel guilty that I only breastfeed full-time for four months and only actually breastfeed at all for the six before my exhusband and I separated. You know, we spent the next year and a half buying the organic formula, which I think was worth it, but what in the holy hell. You know, that formula had a LOT less caffine than the breastmilk did. . .

    | May 16, 2008 @ 1:16 am

  26. RhoRho said,

    Screw em. I used to be one of those judgmental types, until I had 2 kids. And just getting older, you sorta say live and let live. But I’m surrounded by old hippies(in laws), who tried to actually intervene when I decided to stop nursing my first at one year. The nerve! I let them stress me out back then, but the second time around, I realized I’m a big girl and openly used (gasp!)a pacifier and breast-slash-bottle fed for 8 months, then bottle only. I had to work around the caffeine and wine, so the formula really helped with that. And this time I said screw pumping. Who has the time with more than one kid? So I’m pro-choice on breastfeeding. Their MY fucking boobs man, it’s my fucking choice! Oh, and now they’re set about 2 inches lower on my chest…sexy.

    | May 16, 2008 @ 2:38 am

  27. DeAnna said,

    I absolutly agree, I tried breastfeeding and my daughter HATED it and then loved it and then HATED it some more, and guess what I was one of those moms who when she quit didn’t tell people and used the frozen breast milk when people were around. Yeah thats me too cowardly to own up to the fact that I couldn’t do it. If I have another child will I go thru it again you ask? I will try but if it starts out like the first time I am busting out the bottle. Oh and by the way I ALWAYS used tap water. do you think my 3 three old who can spell and write her name without help is retarded? I don’t.

    | May 16, 2008 @ 2:54 am

  28. Misty said,

    Amen. Both of my kids were premature by two months, breastfed for barely two weeks, and have never had ear infections croup or any of the other illnesses babies and toddlers get – not even pink eye. Unfortunately it doesn’t stop at breastfeeding with mothers, it goes on through school choices, sports choices, and of course whether a mother works or not. It’s amazing how people can think everyone has to follow the exact same playbook that they do. Ugh, I’m not going to go into a huge rant – but thank you for writing about these things in books, mothers do need to hear about other choices and problems.

    | May 16, 2008 @ 3:03 am

  29. mommymae said,

    i absolutely agree that mothers bash each others choices about almost every aspect of parenting and the way you feed a baby is the number one topic of fightfests.

    one point of disagreement is when you said: “I know of a million breastfeeding fanatics yet I don’t know one person who is vehemently opposed to people breastfeeding.” there have been numerous women who were asked to stop breastfeeding in public. not sure how many bottle feeders have been asked to stop. maybe they have and i don’t know about it.

    like i’ve said before, what works for one doesn’t work for another. heck, i nursed my twins for 15 months and my son only nursed for 8. once he slept through the night, my milk supply all but disappeared and we stopped. i had no problems with it.

    something else i’ve always found interesting is the dichotomy of nursing/bottle feeding in different cultures and regions over time. females in my family (who have all been from small towns in the midwest) always breastfed. the females in my husband’s family (at least mom and grandma) who lived in urban areas only bottle fed. their doctors were telling them different things at the same time. i always wondered about that. i would guess that in my family it had to do with the economy of breastfeeding. i’ll have to ask.

    to each their own. and i hate that bottle feeders have to feel so vilified by the bastards that try to bring them down. its not like their putting their babies in the freaking microwave?!?

    | May 16, 2008 @ 3:11 am

  30. Ramblin' Red said,

    Ok…here goes.

    I loved breastfeeding, as I am part dairy cow and it came more than easily to me. So much so that I seriously pondered pumping and banking it for women who really wished to BF but couldn’t….but, that said, I also pumped and bottle fed for times and places that *I* felt it was more appropriate. HEAR that nipple nazi’s, the times that I felt it was easier not the times that I was pressured by society to cover up or whatever.

    Personally…I have had so many friends who have been on all the areas of the BF/Formula continuum that I think it is a personal choice. Period.

    Do what works, right?

    When my son lost weight on my copious breast milk that strangely lost its nutritional value, we switched to formula in a heartbeat!

    Anyway….I think it is unfortunate that the manner in which one mother nourishes her baby has become yet another mommy-war. We should help each other out with love and support, not tear each other down – we have a patriarchal society to do that!

    | May 16, 2008 @ 3:36 am

  31. MomToTracyNSheri said,

    Amen.

    I have three kids. I did not breastfeed #1. I breastfed #2 for 14 months. #3 for 7 months. Whatever. Can’t say #1 is any worse off than the others. Can’t say we bonded any less.

    Kids have to eat. They all survive. That’s the bottom line.

    | May 16, 2008 @ 3:44 am

  32. jess said,

    Come on, now, you KNOW that babies who are fed formula will eventually mutate into angry gorillas and try to take over the world. Right? Isn’t that what happened to the last few bottle fed generations?

    | May 16, 2008 @ 6:49 am

  33. Kyddryn said,

    I couldn’t. I wanted to, but I couldn’t…someone forgot to tell my boobs to get with the program, so they sat around like two useless lumps of fat (and I don’t mean husband and roommate, either).

    I’ll refrain from recounting all of the verbal assaults I got for using formula, from complete strangers. At least my friends and family understood, because I told them in graphic detail everything we’d endured trying to make it work before finally realizing that my son was starving and feeding him came first (which realization hit just in time to keep me from giving my baby up for adoption and getting personal with a shot gun. Damn lactivists and their tactics combined with severe PPD and the usual dose of depression…almost made me break my word). Strangers don’t bother to find out why…they just attack.

    I not only mixed the formula with water, I didn’t warm it. That’s right – straight out of the filter and into the bottle it went. Well, except that one time we were camping in the van an it was sleeting out and I figured I needed to keep the water warm so I had the kid wedged against me and a bottle of water in an arm-pit (thank god I showered before bed!) and one between the pillars of doom. I bet that was the warmest feeding he ever got! Oh, and I started him on fruits, then veggies, and gave him meat, peanut butter, and honey before he was one. If all that cut his intelligence, thank the gods…because I don’t want a kid that’s any smarter than he is right now. There’s a reason I call him The Evil Genius.

    I believe that, for the most part, breast milk is better for babies…when they can get it. So many women have problems – mastitis, nipple chapping, low or no milk production, low or no nutritive value to their milk, the need for medication that crosses barriers and can be harmful to the baby, having an adopted child – it’s just madness to assume that someone is lazy, ignorant, or criminally stupid (I was called all three at one time or another) because they’re using formula. In a perfect world, women with excess breast milk could pump and store it for those of us who want to give it to our babies but can’t make out own…but it’s not a perfect world and so we have formulas that are getting better every day, giving us non-lactastic mom’s a fighting chance to nourish our babies.

    Right, I’m stopping now…it’s late for me, and I need to wind down (not up) and try to get some sleep. Fucking insomnia.

    Shade and Sweetwater,
    K

    | May 16, 2008 @ 6:50 am

  34. MsPrufrock said,

    I see myself being 85 and still jumping on blog topics like this one, so near and dear is it to my heart. I could write a book here, but I’ll try not to.

    My daughter was born at 36 weeks with a seemingly undeveloped sucking reflex. I struggled like hell to get her to latch for three weeks after her birth, and couldn’t. I pumped, at first exclusively, but thanks to a miniscule supply, as my daughter’s appetite increased, so did the amount of formula she was given. I gave up the pumping at 9 weeks, when I realised that all the lack of sleep from the whole pump-feed-baby sleep-pump-feed, repeat cycle left me with about 3 hours of sleep per day if I was lucky.

    I tried to get help, but felt it was rather passive aggressive, with me feeling even more guilty that I couldn’t succeed at what I perceived to be this most basic female function. As a former infertile, I’d been through all of that before and there is only so much guilty one can handle. Additionally, all of this difficulty and resulting stress and depression meant that I took ages to properly bond with my daughter. She had quite severe reflux as well, which didn’t help, but my inability to breastfeed really threw up a roadblock that I wasn’t prepared to handle. I have blogged about this matter myself, in the hopes that other women who can’t/don’t want to breastfeed wouldn’t beat themselves up over what is really a tiny, inconsequential issue in the life of your child.

    IVF 4 Dummies made an excellent point that I was going to make (damn her!) – we are full of reasons why we didn’t breastfeed, as if we need to defend our decisions. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read comments from breastfeeders like, “It’s ok for a woman not to breastfeed for medical/emotional reasons”, as if they have deigned to permit someone to not breastfeed, kind souls that they are. Why does anyone care what kind of milk I give my kid?

    So scarred was I by my experience that I don’t even know whether I would try it again for another child. I don’t have enough faith that breastfeeding is so vastly superior to formula that I feel motivated to be extremely depressed and not bond with my child again.

    I think the gist on my own blog when I write about this issue has always been fuck ’em. Not breastfeeders in general of course, just the ones who are fascinated by what I do with my tits. Fuck ’em indeed.

    | May 16, 2008 @ 11:40 am

  35. BlogWhore said,

    Yes.

    Funny thing about all of this, I did breastfeed my daughter – for a long year. And she is sick every other damn week. And no, she isn’t in daycare.

    Her immune system is just for shit. Even with all that yummy, powerful breastmilk I gave her.

    Go figure.

    | May 16, 2008 @ 2:54 pm

  36. MereCat said,

    I can NOT for the life of me understand the animosity either. And the internet flaming is absurd. It’s like gang behavior or something. From a group who sees themselves as so righteous, you’d think they’d have more decorum. I’d like to get all of us together and give them one big collective finger.

    | May 16, 2008 @ 4:25 pm

  37. Cory said,

    I want to stand up right here at work (where i’m actually supposed to be working, so I won’t) and start clapping!

    My 2nd child is almost 1 now and he is sick allllllllll the time, had the ear tubes put in, etc. So I had been feeling super guilty about stopping pumping at 3 weeks, but I also realized, I only gave my daughter breastmilk for like 3 days and she never had all these health issues. So really all that ‘breast is best’ talk holds no merit with me. I’m not buying it.

    It’s great if you can do it, but if not, it sucks that we are made to feel guilty for quitting. I never understood why people feel the need to ask you if you are breastfeeding anyway? Why is that anyone’s business besides maybe the doctor? I don’t hear people regularly asking me what I feed my 5 year old? Because that’s just weird, right?

    | May 16, 2008 @ 5:12 pm

  38. Julia said,

    I’m willing to bet part of this is regional, too. Even micro-regional – depending on which particular group of friends or strangers you’re around when the subject comes up.

    In my neck of the woods there are still plenty of (vocal) individuals who openly disgust and berate breastfeeding. When they’re related to you, it gets particularly tough.

    I breastfed my first and am nine months in with my second. For me, it was relatively easy. But it had everything to do with expectations and few complications.

    I have an entire circle of girlfriend who have breastfed, and another who haven’t. All their kids are great.

    In some ways, I think we’re all shadow boxing with imagined (and occasionally real) enemies. And I agree, it’s high time we all agreed to say, “Screw it. To each her own.”

    | May 16, 2008 @ 7:33 pm

  39. Catwoman said,

    I can’t remember how old Little Man was when your first book came out and I bought and read it. He was still an infant, I know that much. And I remember reading the part where you talk about your struggles with bf’ing and your decision to give it up and I literally remember crying. I cried, because finally, there was someone else in the world who had the guts to put it in writing that you know what? Sometimes it just doesn’t work out. And you made me feel less alone that day, I don’t know if I ever told you the impact your first book had on me.

    I was too deprived to try to find out how to contact you and say that to you, but I guess I’m saying it now.

    When I was pregnant, I actually contacted my local milk bank to offer to donate some of my milk. I’ve got 34DD’s, how could I NOT be a milk bank all by myself I figured.

    And then Little Man was born. And I was very sick and had to be on medication and he couldn’t latch and I’d pump and produce (at my peak a few weeks later) 4 oz between both breast in 20 minutes. As my sister put it “if you were a dairy cow, they would have put you down by now.” And then she was the one who finally said to me “your boobs were obviously made for porn, not breastfeeding, it’s ok to give up.”

    I didn’t though. And then one day, when Little Man was 8 weeks old, I pumped and pumped and pumped and nothing came out. My boobs had officially called it quits, just like that. Not even a dear john letter.

    End of world’s longest comment.

    | May 16, 2008 @ 8:08 pm

  40. Leslie said,

    Ohhh damn girl – you go on with your bad-ass self! I can’t agree with you more! I get all fired up too about this topic. I’m a breastfeeder – I breatfed my first son for 9 mos and my second one is still going strong at 14mos. While I’m happy that I’ve been able to breatfeed, I’ve never been a “do or die fanatical types” and I think moms who look down their noses at moms who bottlefeed their babies just need to zip their cakeholes shut! I have friends who bottle fed their babies and I swear people made them feel like they were feeding rat poison to their babies! Our kids are going to make us feel guilty enough for all kinds of things in our lifetime so the last thing moms need is some stranger making them feel bad about how they feed their baby. I believe that moms need to and should do what it best for both the baby AND for the Mom. If that means bottle feeding then they should feel good about their choice. In my opinion, all that matters is that the baby is fed with love because I swear a baby knows if it’s being fed lovingly from a bottle or begrudgingly from a boob! I could go on and on but I won’t. Thank God you didn’t bring up daycare. GASP!

    | May 16, 2008 @ 10:53 pm

  41. Dew Drop said,

    * sings to the tune of “My Body” from ‘The Life’ * “They’re MY boobies/not your boobies/My boobies are MY business/and nobody’s business but my own.”

    Ahem. Sorry. Musical theater- geek moment.

    My opinion on titterterrorists has always been: To each his own. As long as you aren’t feeding your infant drain cleaner out of a bong, why is it my business what your child eats and how it is fed to them?

    I sort of want to put that on a t-shirt.

    | May 16, 2008 @ 11:04 pm

  42. Shannon said,

    I think the saddest part of the whole lactivist culture these days is that there is this huge disconnect between the expectations and the reality. The expectation is that all mom’s will/should/could breastfeed. The reality is that in Western culture, particularly in the U.S., women are separated from their extended families. Lactation consultants are a western phenomenon really. We don’t have our moms, sisters, cousins, etc living with us showing us how to latch at every feed. providing LOVING, moral support. A stranger meeting with you for an hour is NOT the same. With Caleb, the first 3 months of his life were the most miserable 3 months ever. I had a mom who didn’t breastfeed and wasn’t really around to help anyways. I figured it out eventually, but jeez did it suck. Help and support make all the difference. Passing judgment, making mom’s feel like crap does not fix anything.

    | May 16, 2008 @ 11:11 pm

  43. DeeDee said,

    Dude! That was me that said it was “It’s on like Donkey Kong” give a sista her due!! ;P

    I really don’t see what the big fuss is about the whole boob or no boob debate. I say as long as your child is getting fed and not dumped off in some trash can then woo hoo to you.

    I seriously tried to breast feed both of my children but my boobs had other plans.

    They refused to produce a drop of milk for the first one and for the second one I chucked out half of a house payment for a pump that was suppose to have the power to suck a golf ball through a garden hose and guess how much it sucked out of me?? A grand total of about 10 ounces….in two months.

    Both of my boys were raised up on formula and they are healthy as horses and pretty darn smart.

    If you breastfeed more power to you. I applaud you for your choice.

    If you formula feed more power to you. I applaud you for your choice.

    Just feed those babies and quit judging what others do or worryin’ bout what others think, it ain’t nobody’s business but your own!!

    My advice to anyone out there catching flack on how you feed your child…tell that person that the minute they decide to drop everything they are doing to come over and change a few shitty diapers and wash spit up out of about a bazillion shirts then you’ll give two shitz about what they think!

    Have a good weekend ;P

    | May 16, 2008 @ 11:21 pm

  44. Lisa said,

    “It’s on like Donkey Kong”!! Freaking awesome!!

    I breastfed. I loved it. I’m sad we’re done, and I’m not having any more kids just so I can do it again. The one thing I know that I accomplished over formula moms is that I saved some serious money. My sister in law was more than happy to tell me how gross it was.

    I had ppd also, but was reluctant to admit it because I thought it meant I would have to give up the boob. I actually went the OTHER way with PPD. I wanted to spend ALL my time with my baby. My therapist is awesome!!

    I love when people bottle-feed their babies. They are most of the time, more than happy to let you feed their babies. Sitting there, cuddling with a little baby while they drink from their bottle is just about the most awesome thing.

    My point? Part of me thinks this is all stirred up by people who just love to start trouble. I see it in my students all the time: “Ally” tells “Brittany” that “Meghan” said she was fat. “Brittany” gets mad and says some choice things about “Meghan” and it goes round and round, but “Meghan” never said anything in the first place. I bet if you got a good amount of both types of moms together, they really don’t care how the others feed their babies.

    It reminds me of the guy who came up to me outside a restaurant, telling me not to get my baby vaccinated, because it was the highway to autism hell. I believe the link exists, but that’s not going to keep me from vaccinating my kids. He then made the leap that China has no vaccinations, and no SIDS… I thought we were talking about autism??? I firmly told him that my kids were well cared for, and he should keep his opinions to himself…

    Stefanie, you’re so right about how being a modern day parent is hard enough without all of us casting stones at each other. Thanks for bringing up this topic.

    | May 17, 2008 @ 12:10 am

  45. Melissa said,

    I experienced this with my first born. I live in the Pac NW where breast feeding nazis abound…and I was shocked to tears on more than one occasion. I tried, I would explain (like it was their business), but the kegs ran dry ladies!!! Anyway, my daughter was born 4 days ago and I even got the backlash at the hospital when I paged the night nurse, exposed my bleeding nipples and asked for a 6 pack of Enfamil please. Oh the horror…..

    Thanks for the post. We of the flat nipples and poor tolerance for toe curling pain salute you!

    | May 17, 2008 @ 2:10 am

  46. clickmom said,

    If you think the mommies are judgemental at this age, just wait til they get to school! It never ends. And I agree, we all need to get off of each other’s backs. Can all the moms just make a pact to pick on someone else for a while? How about communist leaders? Or bad drivers?

    | May 17, 2008 @ 3:04 am

  47. Anonymous said,

    And for some comic relief:

    http://notspigots.blogspot.com

    | May 17, 2008 @ 3:58 am

  48. Dani said,

    Irony – the biggest breastfeeding nazi I know has 3 severely underweight children. The second is allergic to damn near everything and shows signs of developmental delays. If she sees allergies or delays in bottle fed babies, guess what she blames? Go figure.

    But what would I know? I am the local pariah for still breastfeeding my 2 year old and not sending my kids to 3 year old kindergarten.

    It’s a crying shame people can’t be respectful about parenting but apparently it’s impossible.

    | May 17, 2008 @ 11:15 am

  49. Anonymous said,

    The absolute saddest part is this: If you were on the other side and a mom who breastfed you’d still be writing this same blog, only you’d be asking people to stop accusing you of abusing your child by breastfeeding, and being accused of getting some sort of sexual kick out of breastfeeding your child and that CPS should be called on you because you’re sexually abusing your child by breastfeeding them! Yes, all of those things have been said to me.

    Bottom line – NO mother does what is 100% best for her child every minute of every day. It’s impossible, and there is not a mother out there that can do it, hence the word IMPOSSIBLE!

    | May 17, 2008 @ 4:58 pm

  50. Penny said,

    Hi. I found you from Random Ramblings.

    I have 2 boys and I chose not to breast feed either one of them. And, I’m a nurse, so my colleagues looked down their noses at me.

    And, just let me add. I don’t believe that brease is always best. While the baby recieves good things from the mother’s milk, it also receives bad things. (caffiene, gassy foods, etc). Personally, I picked formula because I was afraid that my babies wouldn’t get enough nutrients from me. All the nutrients they need are in formula.

    I agree with you. Some people just need to back off. It’s not like we’re scaring our children for life.

    | May 17, 2008 @ 8:27 pm

  51. J-momma said,

    i totally know what you mean! now get this. i adopted my son, which you would think, obviously, no breastfeeding here. BUT there are many people who breastfeed their ADOPTED BABIES! i am not kidding. there are websites devoted entirely to this “trend”. and apparently, it can work. let’s just say….not for me. but i have a friend who wants to adopt from foster care like i just did. and she has two bio kids, both she breastfed till they, like, grew adult teeth. also in my circle of psycho mom’s is a mid-wife and avid breast feeder and she actually convinced my other friend to attempt breast feeding a baby from foster care that doesn’t even belong to her yet! i had to explain that this is a big no-no according to the state of CT. so she pumped and froze the breast milk instead to give to the child when the adoption is legal. i don’t know about anyone else, but i’ve never heard of a 5 year old asking for breast milk in their cereal.

    | May 18, 2008 @ 12:24 am

  52. sparklykatt said,

    My older son (just turned 5) was adopted at six months. He was bottle fed and other than two ear infections and the typical daycare type colds, he’s super healthy. In fact he hasn’t missed a day of daycare in the last 18 months.

    As for my six month old, I consider myself very lucky that I’ve been able to breastfeed him. Breastfeeding was always one of my “dreams” when it came to having a baby. In a way I was lucky and he was readmitted to the hospital the day after we were discharged b/c of jaundice. Because of our extra 24 hours in the hospital I had extra help from the nurses and lactation consultant and some time on the pump to help my milk come in.

    Although breastfeeding has been easy for us, my milk supply does not always cooperate. I have to work hard to keep it up, and take a butt load of supplements to help. Even with all of that he gets at least one, sometimes two, bottles of formula every day just to compensate. I’m lucky if I can pump over ten ounces during the day, and thats with three pumping sessions, on the days that I’m at work.

    What I find interesting about your post Stephanie, is that I’ve received the opposite type of comments. My mother in law can’t really understand why I want to breastfeed and always asks if we are supplementing with bottles. And makes comments about how I’d be less tied down if we bottle fed.

    At work, the last three women to have babies all bottle fed for various reasons. They can’t understand why I want to breastfeed. When it came time to come back to work after maternity leave and needed a place to pump, my mostly female workplace, was not all that supportive at times.

    I’m not sure I’ll ever understand all this mommy judgement. Do people really think they are “helping?”

    | May 18, 2008 @ 12:36 am

  53. Laural Dawn said,

    Ohhhh … the breastfeeding debate.
    Bring it on.
    I got so hassled with my son when I wanted to give him formula that I felt horrible about it. I would cry whenever I gave him formula.
    And eventually I was made to feel so horrible I gave it up. And struggled through horrible mastitis (and had ppd). It’s nice that he had breastmilk, but I think I would have been a far better mother had I done the formula, gotten sleep and moved on.
    I now have a 7 week old who I breastfeed and supplement with formula. Going into this birth I made up my mind that if breastfeeding was hard I would go the formula route. It’s been easy so I am still breastfeeding, but really I think it’s only been easy because I haven’t felt the pressure.
    As far as others being judgemental – I hate that. What is it of anyone’s business what my child is eating?

    | May 18, 2008 @ 12:55 am

  54. twinmama2aj said,

    Yes … Yes… I agree …. and thanks so much for your second book too. I agree I agree. you go girl and keep blogging. I love it.

    | May 18, 2008 @ 1:36 am

  55. sara said,

    How is it better for the baby, if after 3 days…they baby is hysterical because she’s HUNGRY and mom is not producing enough milk, and mom is hysterical because it HURTS and HER BABY IS HYSTERICAL???!!!
    I am with you 300% (100 for each kid!)…I tried and tried and tried again. For as big as these mammaryjama’s are…they are useless. And now because of this whole experience…They are so overly sensitive that it’s not even pleasant to have them touched. EVER. And I have to wear a bra to bed every night because it bothers me to have the pj’s brush against the nips (TMI??). Oh, and it’s been 12 years since the firstborn. Probably not gettin’ any better, eh??

    | May 18, 2008 @ 1:55 am

  56. dana said,

    I think that women are constantly being pitted against each other, on many levels, about more issues than just breastfeeding/bottle feeding. We really need to just get down to the brass tacks and support each other.

    For me personally, the controversy was that I had to defend my decision to breastfeed against those who disapproved of nursing in public. I was lectured about having to nurse in public once, and that made me self-conscious. I ended up switching to formula and no one gave me a hard time about it.

    I think that if a woman is not able to nurse or simply has no desire to, that’s her decision. End of discussion. The peanut gallery should mind their own business.

    | May 18, 2008 @ 2:12 am

  57. Becky said,

    Hi – just happened by your blog and have been reading for a couple of days. This entry really hit home with me and I just had to comment and say thanks for this!

    When my daughter was born I was on medication for an autoimmune disease and it was recommended that I not breastfeed. Turns out breast is NOT best when there’s other stuff getting in there. Anyway I had a HUGE amount of guilt over this and felt like a “bad mom” when I bottle-fed her in public. And why? She did wonderful on formula – she’s a fantastic little girl.

    I’m continually surprised at the lengths people will go in order to breastfeed. I’ve heard of other women with my condition going off of the medication and choosing long, exhausting inpatient treatments instead just to be able to breastfeed. For me, I was glad that there is medication out there that allows me to be a fully functioning Mom to my little girl and enjoy our time together. It was easy to give up breastfeeding for that – seems like a no-brainer trade.

    So i dunno – I’m okay with breasfedding – and if we have another baby and I’m on a different medication I’d like to try it. But I don’t think “breast is best” needs to translate to “breastfeed no matter what the cost to you, your baby and your sanity”. Because, really, there’s a lot more to parenting than just what you happen to choose as a milk source.

    | May 18, 2008 @ 6:34 pm

  58. Kathy said,

    I agree. To each her own.

    | May 18, 2008 @ 10:00 pm

  59. heleen said,

    Having kids seems to give other people the right to abuse you when they don’t agree with your parenting style or decisions…

    I breastfed my twins without any problems, so my choice to breastfeed was an easy and cheap one. Now I get nasty comments about other stuff. That my kids don’t get socialized enough because they don’t go to daycare. How can I be a good mother if I don’t feed my kids biological. How will I completely ruin them by letting them watch tv?

    The latest commentary I have been getting from a neighbor who thinks I am a totally irresponsible mother because I smoke. I never smoke when the kids are present but that doesn’t matter to her.

    The world would be such a nicer place if people minded their own business a bit more…

    | May 18, 2008 @ 11:54 pm

  60. Rachel said,

    Kudos. I breastfeed but I have never once judged someone for not… or praised someone for nursing. I don’t think its anyone’s business how people feed their children and I get kind of annoyed when people sit there and pat me on the back for “choosing” to breastfeeding. I know it doesn’t work for everyone and I was just lucky that it came easy for me. Sometimes I like to make a point of feeding my daughter formula in public, just to see how many tsk tsk looks I get.

    | May 19, 2008 @ 2:06 am

  61. Kim/2 Kids said,

    OMG, I wish I had known how difficult breastfeeding was going to be. Nobody shared how difficult it was before my daughter’s birth. She weighed 5lbs at term and didn’t have a sucking reflex. I tried and tried to breastfeed, even with one of those f***king plastic nipples over mine, what finally worked was my mother staying all night and helping me help her latch on. My second daughter came out and nursed for 30min right away. I think we all do the best we can and it can be so difficult. Who needs a judgmental mother eyeing you or telling you how sorry they feel that you aren’t breastfeeding. I have a shitload of things to feel guilty about but breastfeeding isn’t one of them. Let me count the ways I feel guilty…..

    | May 19, 2008 @ 5:18 am

  62. DivaDunn said,

    You don’t know how I envy your inability to breastfeed! I was very apathetic about it before my daughter was born, but due to the pressure I said “of course I’ll try…” Unfortunately, I could have been the poster child for La Leche. However, it was not with out tremendous pain and utter exhaustion…but I was blessed with the baby who wouldnt take a bottle.OMG! The only way to get her to stop screaming was to stick a boob in her mouth. Ugh!

    I’d also like to point out there are millions of books on how to get your child to breastfeed but if you ask for one on how to wean your 18-mo – it doesnt exsist!

    If you ask me the judgemental people are just f%#$ing jealous!

    Honestly, I know just as many formula fed kids as breastmilk and you’d never be able to tell the difference. I’m convinced it’s all a scam!

    | May 19, 2008 @ 2:35 pm

  63. Stefanie said,

    I’m honestly shocked that everyone agrees with me! If everyone agrees, then why are so many women (and men) beeyotches about this? Why do we feel so pressured? Why do we feel so selfconscious? I wish that the world was made up of cool,strong women who like and are able to make their own decisions without bowing to outside influences in either direction. But until then…let’s vent!!

    | May 19, 2008 @ 3:45 pm

  64. Ms Picket To You said,

    I made my own baby food for my first kid, nursed her through pain and guilt and work until she was 11 months old (and I got pregnant, again) but when my third kid showed up, I was all, “yes, motherfucker, it’s a bottle filled with powdered formula; sue me.”

    That being (crazily?) said, I also get all bitchy-like when other moms (and journalists, and radio personalities) get all bitchy-like about the mom nursing her 5 year old kid. Hellooo? Her boobs are hurting you how?

    And if you have a problem with that? I’ll smack you on the head with my Avent bottle filled with manufactured milk-food.

    | May 20, 2008 @ 12:54 am

  65. Stefanie said,

    I agree Ms. Picket. Exactly my point. I was actually asked about a year ago to go on the Montel Williams Show to talk about breast feeding. They wanted me to talk about this issue and I said “of course.” Then it turned out they wanted me to “go up against a women who was still breast feeding her four year old.” I was like, “and I’m going against her?? What does that mean?” They said “don’t you think that’s creepy?” and I was so annoyed. I said, “I don’t care if you breastfeed your kid until they’re thirty. If I have an opinion about what someone else is doing then I’m no better than someone who is judging me for formula feeding.” Needless to say, I didn’t do the show. But that’s daytime talk for ya.

    | May 20, 2008 @ 1:08 am

  66. Lynsey said,

    I used to be one of those people that didn’t understand why mom’s didn’t even try, TRY and totally gave them the mean look. Awful, I know. I couldn’t understand why a mom wouldn’t want that for their child. And then I started to be around people who bottle fed…like my sister and best friend and instead of judging I just asked why. Asking and hearing the reasons gave me a new outlook and now I’m just happy the kids get fed…bottle…boob…whatever.

    And although I breastfed my son exclusivly, reading things made me think about all the awful food that could make him fat or clog his arteries I’ve fed him since then…shame on me!

    Lyns

    | May 20, 2008 @ 4:16 am

  67. MadWomanMeg said,

    I’ve been on both sides of this and it still drives me nuts how bent out of shape some people can get about whether or not I choose to breastfeed. In fact, I recently had someone lecture me on how awful a mother I was because “surely the reason my son has asthma is because he was formula fed”. Um.yeah.

    The sad thing is, when my daughter was a baby almost 6 years ago, if she needed feeding, I would end up hiding in a public restroom to nurse her because I wanted to avoid the piercing glares from the naysayers.

    2 years later, when my son was born, I was MEDICALLY UNABLE to breastfeed him, and still somehow found myself in the restrooms to feed him because the breastfeeding nazis out there wanted to string me up for feeding him formula.

    Things get taken too far, and it’s time for it to stop.

    I think I’m going to have to go find your books. You rock.

    | May 20, 2008 @ 8:20 am

  68. Jenn said,

    I hear you! It’s so annoying to have people think that they have the right to tell another how they should feed/raise/parent someone else’s child. I attempted to nurse son #! and that was a miserable failure for both of us. I did successfully BF Numbers 2 and 3 and didn’t even bother with Son #4. I have to say that I enjoyed those early days with #4 MUCH more than the others. Not that I didn’t love all of them, but it was so much less stress!

    Found you through the Dad Gone Mad links!

    | May 20, 2008 @ 2:31 pm

  69. Gemini Girl said,

    wow- this is a hot button topic!

    I always thought I would breastfeed. Then my girls were born 10 weeks early, and were in the NICU for 6 weeks. I rented a hospital pump and pumped as much as I could. I would run with tiny bottles of the breastmilk so that the nicu nurses could feed my daughters through their feeding tube. But I hardly produced any milk- let alone enough to feed 2 babies.

    When they were home, I attempted to breastfeed, but I was not producing enough for them, and they were used to the bottle at the nicu. So after a battle within myself, I gave up. Most people dont say anything to me bec they were preemies. Of course, I probably got “the look” from people when I feed the girls their bottles outside the home. But the truth is- I dont care. Say what you will, but I think I have been through enough battles as of late.

    | May 20, 2008 @ 6:42 pm

  70. JP said,

    I am so very, very tired of other mothers being so mean. It starts with breast feeding and then the meanness continues on to those mother’s who do (or do not) work outside the home. And then as your child gets older you continue to be judged for what preschool you send your child to…and then what elementary school…and then if you do or don’t let your child have a cell phone. (You get my point….)

    Once again, I am baffled by all of this. You would think, as women, we could be a support system for other women trying to the best mom they can be. Instead we (and be “we” I mean “they”) trash other mother’s for their choices and tear down the very support system we are all hoping to have. Bravo for saying something.

    | May 20, 2008 @ 7:14 pm

  71. Mrs. Incredible said,

    Seriously, no matter what the lactation specialists said, there was nothing appealing about sticking the cracked and bleeding nipple of a mastitis rock hard breast into my newborn’s mouth, but I still tried because I was sure I would fail the first test of “Good Mothering” if I didn’t breastfeed. Thank God for my husband’s persistence in breaking through post-partum emotions with common sense.

    | May 20, 2008 @ 11:46 pm

  72. Carrie said,

    Bravo to you! I am the mom of three adopted babies (5,6 and 7 1/2 now) and they were all bottle fed. Not “regular” formula either, soy formula as they were also all born with either drugs currently in their systems or had been exposed to drugs before birth. If I were to/could get pregnant, I would probably give breast feeding a try, just to experience it, but for now, and probably forever, breast feeding isn’t an option for me. I get pissed when I see huge billboards spouting how you should breastfeed. I couldn’t, their birth mom’s couldn’t pump (for obvious reasons) and all three kids are healthy and growing fine.

    | May 20, 2008 @ 11:55 pm

  73. Mumma Boo said,

    Fabulous post! How I wish you had been strolling by my hospital room after the arrival of my firstborn. You could have poked your head in and said, “Hey, it’s ok to feed your starving child formula. Really, it is. No matter what the lactation nazi says.” I couldn’t breastfeed either of my kids, and so far (knock wood), they’re turning out just fine. They harass and drive me crazy just like they’re supposed to. Thanks for being a voice of reason!

    | May 21, 2008 @ 3:06 am

  74. Fratzels said,

    I call these judgmental women the breast feeding nazis. I have personally chosen to breast feed my babies, but know that there isn’t anything wrong with formula. Truth be told, sometimes I look at the formula feeding moms with a little envy! I despise flopping my boob out in public – it’s akward for me to try to feed my infant with a blanket over her and balancing her on my knee while holding a boob the size of a watermelon. Not to mention the fact that I would love a date night without kids, but an infant that won’t take a bottle is not going to let that happen!

    | May 21, 2008 @ 10:39 am

  75. Heza Hekele said,

    Good on you. I wish I would have heard such advice six years ago! My breastfeeding experience was a bit of a flop and I carried around guilt for years, like a true first time parent. Such a waste of energy. Seriously, if they aint your boobs, keep your opinions to yourself…and if they are your boobs, lighten up and give yourself a break!

    | May 21, 2008 @ 10:26 pm

  76. Andee said,

    I don’t understand why all us women have to judge each other. If you are a SAHM, you look down of working moms. If you homeschool, you can’t understand why people send their kids to school. I was a breastfeeding mom (my first 14.5 mo, and my second 16.5 months) and I donated breastmilk to a milk bank. However, my bff didn’t bf either of her kids, and not once did we have a knockdown dragout about me bf in front of her or her formula feeding her kids. I DONT CARE what you do with your kids. :-) Do what is best for you and your family.

    A well-said post. I commend you.

    | May 22, 2008 @ 7:08 pm

  77. Dana said,

    This is great stuff! It’s so rare to see an article (or post) speaking for women who don’t breastfeed! Hope you don’t mind if I link Mommy 4-1-1 to it!

    | May 23, 2008 @ 5:38 am

  78. Anonymous said,

    I don’t understand why each one doe4sn’t mind her own business in this field. It’s so personal!! the nazifeminist are really the new miserable choir of gossiping and morally judging troop. the answer of havinf a double mastectomy seems to be really bright!!
    kisses

    | May 23, 2008 @ 6:29 pm

  79. Stephanie said,

    Ok, so here is what I think it is:

    We are all so insecure about motherhood and our choices that we must deem everything else as wrong/immoral/inferior.

    Personally, I had a horrific experience at the start of breast feeding – a premie who wouldn’t latch, pumping blisters, plugged ducts, etc. I stuck with it and a year later I am still loving nursing…now come the sideways looks from people who think a 12 month old is too old to nurse (you can never satisfy everyone!). I must admit that I did I have moments of jealousy over my non-breast feeding friends when a few weeks postpartum they were having a cocktail, drinking coffee, and (dare I say it) being away from their baby for more than a half an hour. The grass is always greener….

    | May 23, 2008 @ 6:58 pm

  80. Candace said,

    People are so feeding their own egos on this one in my opinion. Parenting is such insecure business to begin with it must feel good to lord nursing over others who chose not to do it or struggled with it. I nursed but I certainly don’t feel like a better parent because of it. I felt pressure to do it and I’m glad I did but mostly because I was too lazy to get up and make a bottle.
    I wrote a post about it myself awhile ago. I don’t usually post my posts on other people’s blogs but it was my way of hopefully making people feel better about all the fucking pressure!
    http://notthatidontlovemykids.blogspot.com/2007/05/breastmilk-its-not-just-for-breakfast.html

    | May 25, 2008 @ 2:39 am

  81. meg said,

    I was so shocked and amazed when I read Sippy Cups… I could relate to you with the breastfeeding part exactly, and look, someone else who isn’t a total boob nazi and going to make me feel bad because my kid couldn’t latch! I’m reading Naptime right now and loving it! Keep up the good work!

    | May 27, 2008 @ 1:41 pm

  82. Bev Sykes said,

    I’m going to say the three words that cause hackles to rise in many circles: La Leche League. But I’m not going to say them in the way you might think.

    I worked as a counselor for LLL for 7 years, helping women to breastfeed. I left the job partly because I could not abide the judgmental attitude of some in the group.

    To my way of thinking, the job of a La Leche League rep (or a lactation consultant, for that matter) is to help a new mother be comfortable with her baby, however she decides to feed it.

    For me, personally, breastfeeding was perfect. I also recognize that I had an uncomplicated experience and I saw many women for whom the attempt to breastfeed was anything but uncomplicated.

    A new mother is already beset with problems adjusting to motherhood, why in God’s name, saddle her with unnecessary guilt for choosing to feed her baby with a bottle?

    My son breastfed for far longer than most, and his brand new baby is being fed with a bottle. It is not my place to criticize, judge, or tsk tsk about it. It is their decision and I respect it.

    It is important to look at the whole picture and realize that the ideal is a healthy baby and a happy mother, and there is very definitely more than one path to that result.

    | May 27, 2008 @ 2:20 pm

  83. Kelly said,

    THANK YOU!! I am a pediatric nurse who breastfeed my first child for 10 weeks of pure hell. And I only did it for 10 weeks because of the guilt. With my second child I told people ahead that I was absolutely no way in hell going to breastfeed and “I dare you to say anything because I will shoot you down!!” She slept through the night in 7 weeks and I swear it’s due to formula – Mommy who gets enough sleep to physically care for children is good!!
    I am now a big propronate of formula feeding and will tell anybody who says the have the slightest hard time breastfeeding to give it up!!
    My new response to nosy people is “Oh, these are my boobs. Those are yours – right there – on your own body!” or “I’m sorry, are you asking me about my private parts, where my bathing suits covers.” That usually confuses them for a while and is worth the laugh!

    | May 27, 2008 @ 4:53 pm

  84. Leigh said,

    I think that we (women) try to pretend that we aren’t judegemental OR competitive, since it isn’t “playing nice.” Then we have babies, an dfor some reason, the gloves come off. I, who breatfed my daughter FOREVER find it amazing thatpeople actually care what other people do so much!! And if it isn’t breasfeeding, then it would be something else. It really would. For some reason, though, breastfeeding is the new litmus test of motherhood. Sad, and incredibly silly.

    | May 27, 2008 @ 5:49 pm

  85. Diane said,

    The reason I loved your first book so much was your honesty about your breastfeeding experience. I tried for three weeks to do it, met with three lactation consultants, pumped, etc. It just didn’t work out for a variety of reasons. The guilt I had was horrible. It didn’t help that everywhere I went I was asked if I was breastfeeding my son–even the cashier at TJ Maxx criticized me for not! It was rotten. Reading your book helped, as did lots of supportive friends. He is almost eight months old now and is thriving quite nicely, even on Similac! I have your next book on my nightstand waiting to start. Thank you!

    | May 27, 2008 @ 7:06 pm

  86. Miss Merry Sunshine said,

    While I am all over this blog regarding formula vs. boobs, I gotta point out the peanut butter thing is just dangerous. I too thought everyone is so damn paranoid! There are no allergies like this in me, my family, my son, or my husband…she’ll be fine. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG and off to the ER we rushed. She didn’t have any until 18 months so I’m not sure if it would have been worse before 1 but, just know allergies are something to mess around with in my opinion. Though I’m sure someone would tell me I wouldn’t have that problem if I had chosen to breastfeed, right??

    | May 27, 2008 @ 7:25 pm

  87. Anonymous said,

    Thank you for this post!! I guess I did not realize how much of an issue this is for so many people. I have two healthy children and choose not to breastfeed either of them. It’s not that I tried and couldn’t or I didn’t have enough milk, I choose not to. Why? Because personally I did not want my children sucking on my boob to get their nutrition. I think it’s gross. That’s just my opinion. I don’t find it disgusting when others do it. I personally felt uncomfortable with the idea. It never felt like a “natural” thing for me to do. When people ask me if I nurse or not (and believe me a lot of people ask) I say, “no”. If they ask why I tell them, “Because I didn’t want to”. I am confident in my decision and I don’t really give a crap what anyone else thinks. It’s sad that women feel they have to hide this. We are all in this together. Let’s support one another!!

    | May 27, 2008 @ 10:32 pm

  88. bma said,

    I think the point here is that we mothers should stick together and support each other even when we disagree with each other.

    I do, however, understand why some of us breastfeeders can get overly pushy. As you mentioned in your post, we all know breast is best, and those of us who stick with breastfeeding find that the longer we do it the weirder we are considered. Healthy, yes. Smart, yes. But weird.

    We get funny looks for the fact that we sometimes have a toddler’s legs hanging off our lap as they breastfeed. When we mention that breastmilk is more easily digested and that our babies thus tend to eat more often, we’re looked at like loonies for giving up even more sleep rather than giving them a bottle of formula that will knock them out for four hours. And of course there’s the fact that if our baby gets hungry in public we’re expected to feed them in the bathroom or pre-pump milk and always have it on hand in bottles to avoid anyone having to remember that breasts are not just sexual objects.

    I guess what I mean is that while breastfeeding is considered “best”, it’s still not entirely considered “normal”. Just like a woman who exercises regularly, and eats five servings of vegetables and fruits per day, the breastfeeding mother is considered perhaps a bit overzealous.

    Now, some of us breastfeeders are overzealous, I’ll grant you. But I’ve also known some pretty pushy formula feeders. We all just need to be less bossy and realize that no one’s child is going to perish from lack of breastmilk, nor is any child’s mother going to perish from the occasional sore nipples or rude looks in public.

    | May 28, 2008 @ 12:02 am

  89. Anonymous said,

    I have a 7 month old and have yet to meet a fellow mom that isn’t judgemental or competitive.

    I avoid mothers and most grandmothers like the plague.

    Childless people don’t say a word about your parenting.

    | May 28, 2008 @ 8:06 pm

  90. Anonymous said,

    I call them the “boob nazis,” threatened by all things not done their way. Bet they make their kids eat the crust too. These are also the same folks who think having 2 kids 18 mos apart is “just like having twins”. Yeah, right….

    | May 29, 2008 @ 9:53 pm

  91. LiteralDan said,

    My wife would applaud you at reading this post, and I totally agree. She tried breastfeeding both of our children, but fate conspired against her.

    I feel bad knowing she took what I thought was stubborn encouragement helping her over the hump (like a grizzled boxing trainer) as blind insistence and judgment. We’ve long since talked it out, but I know she’ll always think I’m “just saying that now”.

    Reading this makes me want to talk it over again, just in case it helps.

    | June 3, 2008 @ 7:12 am

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