Most people know that when available, breast milk is the way to go with your infant. There are groups all over the world dedicated to making sure that every mother is educated on the benefits breast milk provides to our babies.
However, sometimes it is not an option, and it angers me to see other mothers shame a mom who is not able to provide breast milk for her baby.
Breastfeeding is NOT as easy as it looks. For a lot of us, it takes a lot of work, even with lactation consultants, special diets, and every trick in the book. Some of us are not able to produce enough for our baby.
Milk banks have become more common, and for some, this is a good Plan B. Some moms may not have access to a milk bank, or may have personal reasons for not choosing to use donor milk. In these cases, the mothers should not be shamed either.
I did not have access to a milk bank, and I was never able to pump enough. We had to use formula to feed our daughter. I would have loved to have been able to breastfeed, but it wasn’t an option for me. I had to do what was necessary for our daughter to get her the nutrients she needed.
Some of our children have allergies and are not able to digest breast milk, and some need to have the breast milk fortified (adding formula to it for nutrients or extra calories, for example). Formulas exist for a reason. I am speaking for all the formula-feeding moms out there—hold your heads up high. There is no shame in FEEDING our babies. If we could do it with breast milk, we would!
Some of us must return to work and must stop breastfeeding early. Some of us may have our own health issues and after we have the baby, we need to take medications making our milk unsafe. Whatever the reason, as long as your baby is getting fed, loved, and taken care of, nothing else matters.
When Casey was born, we did not have access to a milk bank, and I pumped all I could but we ended up switching to full formula early on. When Casey was 6 years old, she had a horrible allergic reaction to an enzyme in one of the formulas we tried. It shut down her entire GI system. She was unable to digest ANYTHING for days.
We tried everything and then one of her nurses suggested breast milk. As luck would have it, that nurse had recently had a baby and had extra milk that she offered up. We consulted Casey’s pediatrician and we all agreed it was worth a shot – she wasn’t able to digest anything else.
It worked! Casey could digest the breast milk. Thanks to her nurse, she was on breast milk for about a week and then we went half breast milk and half formula until we could get her back on her normal formula.
I am pro-breast milk and have only great things to say about it. I am also pro-mom, and we need to stop the shaming. Let’s support feeding all our children well and making sure they are healthy.
There are several breastfeeding articles on this site. Look through the archives or use the search bar to find them.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs to share their tips and stories about caring for their children during difficult times.