Monday, May 28, 2012

Confession - I formula feed my baby!

Yeah, I formula feed my baby, get over it—I have!

This is the first time I've publicly admitted that I don't breast feed.  Fear of being judged and the overwhelming feeling of guilt were the reasons I kept quiet about this topic. I studiously avoided all conversations about breast feeding, about feeding altogether in case someone asked.  Notice how this is past tense.
I no longer feel guilty, nor do I feel ashamed.  I know that my attempt at breast feeding was flawed and with the benefit of hindsight there were definitely things I could have and should have done differently. The plain and simple fact is that it didn't work out for us and I won't waste any more time lamenting the fact.  

What I don't need is a bunch of other women telling me I am harming my baby.

See, this is what I *really* don't get.  Why are other women so concerned about the choices another mother makes?  Be it attachment parenting (which by the way, is a term I hate because it suggests that if you don't co-sleep, carry your infant around in a sling and breastfeed until the child is 6, then you are therefore detached from your baby), a regimented routine, or you a pick and choose a mixture of different parenting styles that suit you as a mother and your child.

There is no emotion stronger than a mother's love.  Is this somehow multiplied because you won't buy a pushchair?  I doubt it.   Looking from the other angle, what the fuck is so bloody bad about choosing to breast feed a child beyond 6 months or a year?  Why do women get so het up about this, it's not like it's their boobs, or their baby.  Why are they letting this bother them?  And if they don't like the sight of a woman breast feeding in public then they should look the other way.

Different women become different mothers. So long as the child is fed, loved, cherished, supported and encouraged what the hell does anything else matter?

I am sick and tired of reading press articles and blog posts about how we should be raising our children.  Sick of the competitiveness and superiority that some women hold.  Sick of the condemnation because another mother does something you find a bit weird.   

Ladies, save your vitriol for the people who don't care about their kids, don't feed them at all, physically and sexually abuse them, make them live in squalor. or ignore them.

Whether you bottle feed, co-sleep, baby wear, Gina Ford, extended breast feed, cloth nappy, no nappy, feed your baby jarred food, make your own organic purees or are a baby led weaning fan, work, don't work, whatever —ignore the haters, get on with what works for you and your family and stick a middle finger up at anyone who thinks their way of mothering is better.

This post was inspired by an incredibly balanced post by Gappy.