When I started #bottlefeedingstories a while back, the response I got from other bloggers, and other parents, who wanted to get involved was overwhelming. So many people had a story to tell – and I love that people have commented saying how their stories were similar, or how they didn’t realise that many people had gone through similar things. The whole point of #bottlefeedingstories was to get people talking – when I had to bottle feed X when he was only a few days old, I struggled to find people who were going through the same thing as me. I felt like a failure, and the guilt was destroying the first months of motherhood!
Up until this week, #bottlefeedingstories was a safe space to talk about bottle feeding experiences. I’ve covered stories like my own which meant reluctantly turning to formula, stories from breastfeeding mums who decided to move to bottle feeding for a myriad of reasons, and stories from mums who chose to bottle feed from the off, without any of the vitriol of the “feeding wars” that so often raise their heads on Facebook discussions. It was all so positive! Even in the face of sad stories, the feedback was filled with empathy and kindness.
But this week, I had the first “breast is always best” comment. Perhaps I could have challenged the poster, asked them to read through the series again to understand why their comment was ignorant and small minded. I could have argued that I doubt there is any Mum who wouldn’t agree that, in an ideal world, children would be breastfed until natural weening – but that this isn’t an ideal world, and there are babies who can’t latch, mums who can’t lactate, mums who need medications to be the best mother for their child but aren’t suitable to breastfeed on, and mums who don’t want to breastfeed for whatever reason. I could have argued that we should be celebrating formula, not berating it – think of how many babies would have died without it, how many babies died before it was invented because they couldn’t get access to the nutrients they needed.
But I chose to delete the comment. After 3 and a half years of parenthood, I’ve discovered that there are some people who will not listen, who have their minds set and intend to make the whole world think they way they do. If they think it’s appropriate to come onto a blog that’s talking about heartbreaking struggles with breastfeeding, and how formula was the best solution, and scream the ever present “BREAST IS BEST” mantra without any thought for the feelings of the poster, then there will be no talking to them. Life’s too short for this level of pettiness.
I support your decision to breastfeed. I support your decision to bottle feed. I support your decision to feed your child in their best interests as well as your own. I do not support belittling others’ experiences because your own was different.